Baku’s economic integration in SCO beneficial for transit countries- Russia and Azerbaijan

Baku’s economic integration in SCO beneficial for transit countries- Russia and Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 24

By Matanat Nasibova – Trend:

The raising of the status of Azerbaijan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) from the dialogue partner to the observer will raise the cooperation of Baku with this authoritative international organization to a new qualitative level, well-known Russian political analyst, associate professor of the Institute of World Civilizations Vitaly Zhuravlev told Trend.

Zhuravlev was commenting on the consideration of the issue of getting an observer status by Azerbaijan in the SCO.

According to the information spread by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, the issue of obtaining an observer status by Azerbaijan is expected to be considered at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO member-states.

This was announced at a recent meeting between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov in China.

“This is good news in many respects,” he said. "Today the SCO is the leading organization that deals with the issues of Eurasian integration. When talking about Eurasian integration, first of all, economic integration that is developed around the "silk roads" designed to establish partnership between China and the countries of Europe and the Middle East is implied.”

“However, this is beneficial for all transit countries, including the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan,” Zhuravlev said. “The appropriate infrastructure is being created, investments are being made, new jobs, various new projects are appearing, trade relations are being strengthened, etc. All this leads to the formation of a huge market, which includes finance, human resources, information, humanitarian contacts."

“Azerbaijan will receive certain additional economic prospects, by participating through the SCO in the Eurasian integration,” he said.

"The second dimension of the SCO is the issues covering regional security,” Zhuravlev said. “There is clear understanding that political stability is required for the development of socio-economic processes, so the issues of combating religious extremism, separatism, and some external negative threats in terms of security are the most important task of the SCO. In this context, Azerbaijan's participation can be viewed as the extension of the zone of stability for the SCO and Azerbaijan itself."

“It is difficult to predict exactly how this will affect the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but it is clear that this will be only a positive factor,” Zhuravlev added.

“This conflict situation must somehow be resolved,” he said. “It is already too protracted and the SCO can also play a positive role here. The third dimension of Azerbaijan's participation in the SCO is geopolitical. Presently, we all observe the struggle for spheres of influence. The Syrian war can be cited as an example.”

“Of course, membership in the SCO does not automatically mean that Baku has embarked on a military alliance with Moscow and Beijing, but potentially, proceeding from the fact that new geopolitical configurations are created in the world, cooperation with the SCO is a certain prerequisite,” Zhuravlev said. “This means that Baku can receive certain guarantees of loyalty from the SCO in case of pressure from the West.”

“But these are only the potential possibilities of such a course of events,” he added. “If we continue to consider the geopolitical configuration scenarios, one can assume the Beijing-Moscow-Tehran-Ankara-Baku format. Of course, there are certain contradictions among the countries on different issues, but, in principle, there is logic in this format.”

“It can also be assumed that Baku's steps to strengthen cooperation with the SCO will cause criticism from politicians of Western countries, various pro-Western structures in Azerbaijan itself, as well as fundamental religious organizations, but this must be taken as an inevitable reaction of ideologically motivated opponents of Eurasian integration," Zhuravlev said.

“As for Moscow's position on intensification of Baku's participation in the SCO, it will be positive, especially taking into account that confrontation with the West has not left the Kremlin any other choice but to work on the Eurasian direction and, accordingly, to promote the all-round development of the SCO,” he added.

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