Armenia, Azerbaijan Being Considered For Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Observer Status

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The member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are actively considering the issue of obtaining observer status by Armenia and Azerbaijan, SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming has said.

The SCO is a regional political, trade and security alliance that includes China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Observer states include Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia, while Dialogue partners include Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan. Upcoming Dialogue partners include Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Ming stated that “As for the issue of obtaining observer status by Azerbaijan and Armenia, the SCO member-states are actively considering it. In this regard, I am optimistic although at the moment I can not name the exact time.”

SCO secretary general stressed that of course, the relations between the two countries are an important factor that should be taken into account.

“The SCO member-states are unanimous in not introducing bilateral contradictions into the organization,” Ming added. “This is also an obligation which any country that claims to join SCO must fulfill.”

Armenia and Azerbaijan have strained relations and fought a war, won by Azerbaijan over disputed territories in 2020. Geopolitical measures have settled down since although sporadic violence occasionally spills out. However, upgrading the two would be positive news for both as the potential for future conflict can be minimized by SCO pressure, and as both will gain from the need to develop new supply chains between China, Asia and Europe via the Caucasus given the current situation with the northern routes via Russia and Belarus. A later, logical step to take would be for Georgia to join as a Dialogue Partner as doing so would complete the supply chain platforms from East to West with Georgia’s assistance, generating transit fees and increased added value manufacturing investment for the EU markets by other SCO member states.

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