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Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit Begins in Astana, Aimed To Forge a New World Order in the Interest of All

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EIRNS—The two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of State Council began today in Astana, hosted by Kazakhstan’s government. The summit brings together 10 members (Belarus is the newest and tenth member) plus 2 observer states and 14 dialogue partners, for a total of 26 participants that will meet tomorrow in the “SCO-Plus” format to discuss strengthening multilateral cooperation and development perspectives, as well as tackling tough regional and international challenges. Several international organizations have also been invited, including the United Nations, represented by Secretary General António Guterres; the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), whose members are former Soviet republics; the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO); as well as invited guests of Kazakhstan’s presidency. The heads of state of most of the participating nations are present (India is represented by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar), and the first day was largely dedicated to many bilateral meetings among them, which were very productive (see separate report).

Yuri Ushakov, presidential aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, outlined key aspects of the summit in a press briefing. According to TASS, he announced that at this summit, China will assume the SCO presidency for 2024-2025, and “we will closely cooperate with our Chinese partners, the more so as this year, for the rest of the year, Russia chairs BRICS, meaning China will chair one organization starting July, Russia [will chair the other one.”] He commented that Russia values the partnership between the SCO and the BRICS, which he described as the “key backbones of the new international order, locomotives in the context of establishing genuine multilateralism in global affairs. SCO is indeed a respected interstate organization whose activities are based on equality, mutual respect for each other’s interests, and a solicitous attitude to national and cultural values.”

The topic of the summit is “Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue—Striving Towards a Sustainable Peace and Prosperity.” As reported by TASS, Ushakov reported that the final Astana Declaration of the Council of Heads of State will “reflect the consolidated approaches of the participating countries on current regional and international problems.” A separate document on the approval of the initiative entitled “On World Unity for a Just Peace and Harmony” will also be signed, which, he said, will “confirm the commitment to the formation of the most representative, democratic, fair, multipolar world order with the central coordinating role of the UN.” This initiative comes from Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, supporting this since 2023. A total of 24 documents will come out of the July 4 summit.

This is the first year that the SCO-Plus format has been in place, allowing for invitations to the heads of state of Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Qatar, Türkiye, the ruler of the emirate of Ras, a member of the Supreme Council of the Emirates, and the chairman of the People’s Council of Turkmenistan, among others. [crr]