Pakistan seeks full membership of Shanghai group

June 13th, 2011 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 13 (IANS) Pakistan - which is an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) along with India - would now seek full membership of the group, a top official said Monday.

The SCO was founded in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Pakistan is an observer along with India, Iran and Mongolia. Belarus and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners, Xinhua reported.

Pakistan became an observer in 2002 and has been making efforts to get full membership since then. Officials said Islamabad has the support of some member states.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari would arrive in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, Tuesday to attend the 10th SCO summit beginning Wednesday.

Zardari would address a summit where SCO leaders will take up issues related to regional and global peace and security, and cooperation in economic development, said Foreign Office Spokesperson Tehmina Janjua.

“President Asif Ali Zardari’s participation signals the importance Pakistan attaches to the SCO and our keen interest in working for regional development, which includes building commerce and trade facilities, banking cooperation, energy transaction and corporate sector interactions,” she said.

Zardari is also expected to speak on terrorism in the region.

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