Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.13
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
The14th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan from Sept.11 to Sept.12.
The summit brought together the heads of all key countries of the region after a long time and this meeting will likely be a turning point in the organization's history. The new rules of accession to the SCO, adopted during this meeting, will allow to admit India and Pakistan to the organization in the next summit to be held in Russia in 2015.
Thus, the current meeting of the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan may be the last one in this format.
Iran has also repeatedly expressed its desire to join the SCO: it has applied for membership two times. However, this issue is not under discussion for the present, as under the SCO rules, a country being sanctioned by the UN cannot be admitted to the organization.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who took over the presidency of the organization during the summit, stressed that the expansion of SCO is of great importance.
"Taking over the presidency, we believe that the process of expansion of SCO will take a real shape in the coming year. We will waste no effort to facilitate this," Putin stressed.
Russia, which is experiencing one of the most difficult periods in its relations with Europe and the U.S., is actively seeking new allies in other regions. Despite the different goals and objectives, the current and prospective members of SCO, for their part, increasingly make themselves known and tend to increase their importance in the world currently dominated by the West. And the SCO may become an organization allowing them to have their own word in the international arena.
Currently, the population of the SCO member states nears one and a half billion people and as a result of expansion of the organization, this figure will almost double. The Chinese economy alone ranks second in the world for the GDP volume after the U.S. The total size of the armies of SCO members even exceeds the size of the NATO member states' armies. So, it will be impossible to ignore such a large scale organization.
The message of the summit clearly reflected the organization's intention to increase its role and influence in the international arena. The issues discussed during the summit went far beyond the borders of the participating countries. The summit participants spoke for the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, discussed the prospects for creating international transport system, fighting against the international extremism and drug trafficking, implementation of international energy and agricultural projects and other global issues.
Thus, a new power is emerging in the Eurasian region and other powers will have to reckon with it.
Elena Kosolapova is Trend Commentator