Thursday, 31 October 2019 14:25

Afghanistan in the focus of attention of SCO countries

Tashkent will host a meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on November 1-2.

As the Minister of Investments and External Trade of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov has said earlier at the 18th meeting of ministers of SCO countries, issues concerning an implementation of agreements reached at the last meetings of heads of government of the member states of the SCO, extension of the legal framework of the trade-economic cooperation within the organization are planned to be considered at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the use of the transit direction across Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, which is the most efficient and in-demand route in the region, is not on the agenda while in the course of the October visit in Baku President of Afghanistan expressed an intention to cooperate more closely with Azerbaijan and develop infrastructure in this direction.

Total volume of GDP of SCO member countries made $18.5 trillion last year, it makes 22.5 of worldwide indicator. SCO covers 60% of the Eurasian territory with the population of over 3 billion people. Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan are permanent members of the Shanghai organization. Prime Ministers from the countries-observers (Afghanistan, Byelorussia, Iran and Mongolia) are expected to attend the summit. The meeting participants will pay a particular attention to the development and security of transportation highways of Afghanistan. In this regard important is not only Khayraton-Mazari-Sharif railroad but also projects on construction of Mazari-Sharif – Great and Mazari-Sharif – Peshavar enabling to create a new transit corridor with an access to railways of Iran, Pakistan, India, as well as towards Chakhbakhar (Iran) and Gvadar (Pakistan) ports.

Total trade turnover of SCO countries made $125 billion in 2018. Besides, $108 billion fell to the share of the Russia-Chinese trade which for the first time exceeded $100billion. For comparison: export from South Korea to China alone, totaled $162.2 billion in 2018. The reason for a fairly low trade development between China and SCO member states in Central Asia is a weak development of transport communications in the direction of Russia.

At the initiative of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a concept of interaction between the railway administrations was worked out and aimed at improving operational efficiency of existing and at constructing new railroads in the SCO area, as well as at increasing cargo transportation including transit one. The project of construction of Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China railway gains a particular relevance, which will let the Central Asian states deliver cargoes to Europe, East and South-East Asia, Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea.

In his recent speech delivered at Xiangshan security forum, General Secretary of SCO Vladimir Norov stated that this organization makes a strong contribution into establishment of stability in Afghanistan which keeps remaining the biggest producer and supplier of opiates in the world. Proceeds from their sale are one of the main sources for terrorism financing. The Afgan problems were an issue of major importance at the Bishkek summit of SCO and perhaps a much broader attention will be paid to them in Tashkent, bearing in mind also the work of the “SCO-Afghanistan” contact group.  It is not only about security which is vital for SCO states in the context of events in Afghanistan, but also development of regional transportation routes.

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