POLITICS


Shanghai Cooperation Organization – efficient platform for multilateral interaction and business-like dialogue

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization awards AZERTAC a special certificate of appreciation for wide and comprehensive coverage of the Organization’s activities

Beijing, September 24, AZERTAC

The complicated geopolitical situation in the world, economic uncertainty, the threat of emergence of food shortage and global challenges like ensuring peace and stability make it necessary for international and regional organizations to play a more active role. A correspondent of AZERTAC tries to take a look at the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is one of the important platforms in the fields of both security and economic growth, and some aspects of Azerbaijan’s growing cooperation with the SCO in this context.

The Organization, which was founded by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in Shanghai in 2001, was later joined by such big countries as Pakistan and India. The process of adoption of Iran as a full-fledged member of the Organization started at the summit of the SCO member states in the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan last week. Besides, the Organization has three observers and nine dialogue partners, including Azerbaijan and Turkiye. Several other countries have also applied for the status of a dialogue partner in the Organization.

In view of the fact that the member states of the SCO, which is the biggest regional organization of the world, make up about 60% of the territory of Eurasia, 40% of the world population and 25% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), one can easily understand why the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has turned into a crucial entity against the background of the ongoing political processes in the world, conflicts between different countries and dual standards.

Certainly, China, which is the biggest country in the world for the number of its population and the second biggest country for its economy, has a special share in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The people’s Republic of China remains to be a leading factor with its economic potential in expanding economic, commercial and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO. Thus, China’s trade turnover with the SCO member states increased by 40% to 343 billion US dollars in 2021.

Taking an active part in international and regional organizations, Azerbaijan’s relations with the SCO have been expanding in recent years. The decision to grant Azerbaijan the status of a dialogue partner was made at the summit of the Organization in Ufa, Russia, in July 2015. The existing areas of cooperation of our country with the Organization were reflected in the memorandum signed between the parties in 2016. Over the past period, Azerbaijan has actively participated in different events organized within the framework of the SCO. It should be especially noted that Days of Azerbaijani Culture were held in 2018 and an event “Nizami Ganjavi – the poet of all mankind” was organized within the framework of the Year of Nizami with the organization of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in May 2021 at the secretariat of the Organization in Beijing. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation presented a bust of the genius poet to the Organization for permanent display at the building of the SCO secretariat. The participation of President Ilham Aliyev as an honorary guest at the Samarkand summit demonstrates that Azerbaijan is interested in taking cooperation with the SCO to a higher level.

The fact that the member states of the SCO are in the scope of China’s Belt and Road strategy has increased Beijing’s interest in cooperation with these countries. The potential of the relations between China and Azerbaijan is much more promising in this context. Historically situated on significant commercial routes, Azerbaijan creates new opportunities in the modern era for cooperation in the Eurasia region with its economic potential, as well as transport, transit and logistics capabilities. The products of the well-thought decisions made by President Ilham Aliyev years ago to create international transport and logistical corridors by making an effective use of Azerbaijan’s geographic position and economic capabilities can be better seen now. Azerbaijan has developed its transport and logistical potential to ensure the creation of new alternative corridors in Eurasia. The work done with the North-South and East-West international transport corridors strengthens Azerbaijan’s position in international freight transport as a transit country. In his speech at the Samarkand summit of the SCO, our head of state touched on this issue, noted Azerbaijan’s solid contributions to the operation of such regional communication projects as the East-West and North-South corridors and spoke about our country’s growing potential in this direction. President Ilham Aliyev stressed that the resolution of the Karabakh conflict has created new opportunities for the development of transport and communication projects in our region and mentioned the significance of the Zangazur corridor from this viewpoint.

Let’s have a look at other aspects of Azerbaijan’s economic cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The demonstration area for China-SCO economic and commercial cooperation was set up in the city of Qingdao in China in 2018. The Azerbaijan Trade House, which presents foodstuffs branded “made in Azerbaijan”, also operates in that area.

As for cooperation in the humanitarian area within the framework of the SCO, Azerbaijan is also active in this direction. The abovementioned projects by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation are a testimony to what we said. In addition, AZERTAC took part in the first media summit of the SCO in Beijing in 2018. The Agreement of Cooperation on news exchange was signed between AZERTAC and the Xinhua news agency within the framework of the summit with the participation of the chairman of the Board of AZERTAC, Aslan Aslanov, who was then the President of the News Agencies World Congress and the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA). Also, productive meetings were held with the editorial staff of China’s reputable China Daily newspaper to establish cooperation.

In all, one of the directions of partnership in the field of news within the framework of the SCO and the Belt and Road strategy is to intensify exchange of news be among the media agencies of the states represented in the SCO. The One Belt One Road economic information partnership, which AZERTAC also co-founded, came into being in Beijing in 2019. Having the status of a founding member of the platform, AZERTAC is able to spread news to wider audiences on Azerbaijan’s economic growth, transnational energy and transport projects, business and investment climate, logistical potential, tourism infrastructure and other topics via this platform.

Another noteworthy fact is that AZERTAC was awarded a special certificate of appreciation from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the end of last year for making wide and comprehensive coverage of the Organization’s activities, ensuring active participation in promotion of the Organization’s proper image in the media and keeping its agenda in constant focus.

Shahin Jafarov

Special Correspondent

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