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SCO summit: Putin, Xi call for new intl. order as Iran’s full membership confirmed

Russian President Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi Jinping and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand on September 16, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Russian and Chinese presidents have urged for re-shaping the international order at the latest Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit which also saw the full-fledged accession of Iran to the organization signed by members.

Addressing the event on Friday in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, Russian President Vladimir Putin lauded the increasing influence of countries outside the West.

“Our integration is of a non-bloc nature, and we offer assistance in solving energy and food problems that emerge in the world, arising from a number of systemic mistakes in leading global economies in the area of finance and energy,” TASS quoted him as saying.

“Hopefully, other participants in economic cooperation will build their policy on the same principles as well, and stop using the tools of protectionism, illegal sanctions and economic egoism opportunistically,” the Russian president added.

“The growing role of new centers of power who cooperate with each other... is becoming more and more clear,” Putin added.

The summit marked the first face-to-face meeting between Putin and Xi since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, and also the Chinese leader’s first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Xi also urged regional countries to reshape the international system and “abandon zero-sum games and bloc politics.”

He noted that leaders should “work together to promote the development of the international order in a more just and rational direction.”

The SCO – made up of China, India, Pakistan, Russia, and the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organization to rival Western institutions.

SCO declaration and Iran’s accession

At the end of the summit, member states released a declaration saying a memorandum of Iran’s commitments was signed for the purpose of the country’s accession to the SCO as a full-fledged member-state.

Iran and the organization started a formal process for Tehran’s accession to the bloc in March. Iran’s membership in the body was later approved by the Iranian administration.

At its 21st summit in Tajikistan’s capital city of Dushanbe in September 2021, the SCO approved documents for Iran’s full membership in the Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced that he had signed a memorandum of commitment to join the organization.

SCO expansion to boost regional security

The declaration also noted that the expansion of the SCO will contribute to ensuring security and stability in the region.

“The member-states emphasized the idea that the expansion of the SCO and the further deepening of cooperation with the observer states, the SCO’s dialogue partners and international associations will build up the organization’s potential and contribute to further enhancing its role in the international scene as a multilateral mechanism for solving urgent problems of our time, ensuring security, stability and sustainable development in the region,” reads the declaration.

The declaration welcomed the decision to grant the status of SCO dialogue partners to Bahrain, Maldives, Kuwait, the UAE, and Myanmar while also announcing that documents for giving the same status to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have been signed.

The member states, according to the declaration, welcomed the signing of MoUs with the League of Arab States, UNSECO, and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, noting, “The member states will continue to search for common points of view on foreign policy issues of mutual interest, including in international organizations and international forums.”

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