SCO welcomes Pakistan as full member

Staff Report
SOCHI (Russia): Prime minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi participated in the 16th meeting of the council of heads of government of the member states of shanghai cooperation organisation (SCO) on Friday, wherein all participating states welcomed Pakistan's presence in the meeting for the first time as full SCO member and hoped that the expansion of SCO membership with Pakistan and India as members will further strengthen the SCO; an official statement said.

The participating states exchanged views on the contemporary economic situation, including that in the SCO. Matters pertaining to economic development and regional integration amongst SCO member states were also considered. 

Reportedly, a restricted meeting of SCO member states was held earlier in the day in which PM Shahid took an active part.

Speaking at the both the restricted and extended meetings PM Shahid thanked all member states for supporting Pakistan’s membership of SCO. He mentioned that Pakistan will work with SCO countries to foster a favourable environment for economic, trade, investment and technological cooperation. PM also expressed interest in promoting cooperation in the field of energy.

Shahid advocated development of mutually beneficial, transparent and inclusive multilateral trading system under the ambit of SCO. He underscored that china pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) complemented SCO's agenda of regional economic integration and connectivity. 

Highlighting the importance of economic cooperation and regional connectivity Shahid offered to connect CPEC to the 6 main trade corridors of SCO which, he said, will fulfil the long cherished aspiration of regional land and marine connectivity between Eurasia, central Asia, China and south Asia. 

Prime minister underscored the importance of strengthening future SCO cooperation in the field of multilateral trading system, trade facilitation and removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers.  Appreciating the efforts of SCO business council and interbank association, he called for early establishment of SCO development bank and development fund. 

Shahid urged further investment in the fields of health, tourism, education, sports culture and people to people contacts.

He added that Pakistan intends to play an active role in the peace, stability and development of the region.

In the context of SCO's regional anti-terrorist structure (RATS) prime minister reiterated Pakistan's commitment to support SCO in its fight against the three evils which are the terrorism, separatism and extremism. 

PM Shahid appreciated revival of SCO-Afghanistan contact group to support Afghanistan's efforts for peaceful political settlement and combating security and terrorism threats.

Separately, he had bilateral meetings with the PMs of Russia, China and Kyrgyzstan and interacted with the heads of government participating in the meeting.

The council adopted a number of decisions related to budget, financial and administrative matters of SCO. The joint communiqué issued by the council focused on the economic, trade, energy, connectivity and social sector cooperation.