In an interview with the Sputnik News Agency, SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming spoke positively about Nepal’s desire to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. He said that Nepal’s intention to join the SCO Family was evidence of the broad recognition and attractiveness of the principles of the SCO Charter and the Shanghai Spirit in all countries across the world.
Nepalese Ambassador to Russia Milan Raj Tuladhar earlier said that his country hoped to become a full member of the SCO. Nepal received observer status at the SCO in 2016 and has been doing its best to play an active role in the organisation’s development. The Memorandum of Understanding that Nepal signed with the SCO Secretariat on 22 March 2016 gave Kathmandu more opportunities for developing cooperation with SCO member states in trade, transit transport, investment, energy, agriculture, small and medium-sized business, security, customs, transport, science, technology, education, healthcare, culture and tourism.
During the past few years, Nepal has applied to raise its status at the SCO several times. It expects to see progress regarding its status at the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in India in 2023. The Nepalese Ambassador to Russia said in an interview with Sputnik that Kathmandu was preparing a relevant application.
SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming pointed out that Nepal was located in the SCO region. It has been acting in accordance with the organisation’s principles since it became a dialogue partner in 2016. Nepal has been an active participant in various SCO events and has filed several applications to raise its status in the organisation. “When I met with the Nepalese chargé d’affaires in China in February this year, the Nepalese side reaffirmed its intention,” Zhang Ming said.
“Speaking about the SCO’s enlargement, it should be said that SCO member states have an active but cautious stand, and are committed to the principle of consensus. We were glad to receive Nepal’s application. Personally, I have positive expectations regarding its approval. I look forward to seeing Nepal take a more active part in all our events, boost cooperation and increase its role and involvement in the organisation. I believe that SCO membership can be a major factor for Nepal or any other country for promoting cooperation in the areas of politics, security, the economy and culture within the SCO framework,” Zhang Ming noted.
The SCO Secretary-General believes that Nepal and the other new member states, if they join the organisation, will act in accordance with the principles of the Shanghai Spirit and the SCO Charter. The SCO member states are interconnected historically and geographically, which is why one of the SCO’s main goals is the development of friendly and neighbourly relations and mutual assistance.
“All SCO member states are located in the same region, are neighbours, are linked by historical ties within the organisation, and are influential countries that are attractive to other states. Their main goal is to strengthen and deepen their long-term relations of neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation. Nepal and any other country that is allowed to join the SCO will work hard to attain the above-mentioned goals and to promote peace and development in the region and the rest of the world,” Zhang Ming said.
The process of granting the Republic of Belarus the status of full member was launched at the recent meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Samarkand. Iran will become a full member at the SCO Summit in 2023. Zhang Ming believes that the SCO’s development has shown that its concepts and models of cooperation are exerting great influence and are attractive to other countries.
“The SCO is an open international organisation. The Samarkand Summit and the enlargement of the SCO have boosted the desire of other states to join the SCO or raise their status in the organisation. Nepal is one of such states,” the SCO Secretary-General added.