Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

SCO to expand during Russia’s Presidency

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

In his article in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has already become a major factor in the formation of a new, polycentric world order.

The SCO is playing a growing role in regional and global affairs, which is making many states and organisations more interested in its activities. Lavrov said that Pakistan, India and Iran have already announced their desire to become fully-fledged members of the SCO, and more and more countries are applying for the status of observer or partner in the dialogue.

Lavrov said that during Russia's SCO Presidency, which it will assume immediately after the Dushanbe Summit, Russia is planning to concentrate on enhancing SCO efficiency in the world arena and on consolidating collective efforts for creating an adequate response to events in the region and the rest of the world.

Coordinated approaches to responding to global challenges will be reflected in the SCO Development Strategy towards 2025, which is expected to be elaborated at the SCO Heads of State Council Meeting in Ufa in 2015. The strategy will be designed to promote cooperation both within the SCO and between its members and leading multilateral structures, primarily the UN and its specialised agencies. One of the goals is to establish ties with the Eurasian Economic Union.

Regional security will remain the SCO's immutable top priority. The organisation will also prioritise promoting cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism and illegal drug trafficking.

"I am confident that, in close cooperation with our partners, we will manage to speed up the SCO's steady development and further increase its role in ensuring peace and prosperity in the region," Lavrov said.