Pak seeking full membership status in SCO "as soon as possible"

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Dushanbe, Nov 26 (ANI): Pakistan has expressed its desire to upgrade its status as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) "as soon as possible".

"Development is high on Pakistan's priorities. We are keen to participate actively in promoting the SCO's economic agenda. We wish to associate ourselves with the SCO's Entrepreneurs Council, the SCO inter-bank arrangements, and closely link up with the SCO's transportation, communication and customs cooperation," the Daily Times quoted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, as saying.

"We also look forward to upgrade our status as a full member of the SCO as soon as possible," Gilani said, while addressing the ninth SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meeting hosted by Tajikistan on Thursday.

He stressed that regional countries should play their roles in determining the trajectory of regional and inter-regional cooperation in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

"It is essential that these processes are tailored to suit the needs of our people and are in accordance with their aspirations for peace and development," he added.

Gilani also emphasised on the need for promoting cultural ties and people-to-people relations in the region, giving priority to facilitating closer collaboration in education, science and technology, preservation and projection of glorious heritages.

"The SCO region has always been the heartland of Eurasia. Since early times, this region was enriched by civilisational interactions. Pakistan was on the ancient Silk Route," he mentioned, adding, "We will be happy to contribute to the revival of Silk Route concept under the SCO framework."

Pakistan believed that the SCO could play an important role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, Gilani said.

"We wish President Karzai every success in his historic endeavours to overcome the challenges that Afghanistan and our region face," the premier added.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, the creation of which was proclaimed on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are the observer states of the organisation, while Belarus and Sri Lanka are its dialogue partners. (ANI)

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