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SCO Meeting Formally Begins in Astana

Astana (June 9, 2017) Meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has begun at Kazakh capital Astana.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is representing Pakistan at the moot, which is expected to approve permanent membership of the organization for the country.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Astana on side-lines of the SCO summit and discussed the bilateral relations.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was also present in the meeting.

Earlier,Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the side lines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization here. During the meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made it clear to Afghan President that Pakistani territory has not been used against Afghanistan.

The two leaders discussed a range of issues pertaining to bilateral relations. Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was also present in the meeting. Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was also present in the meeting.

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Sources said the two heads of state, in the Kazakhstan capital for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, did not have a meeting scheduled but one was squeezed in on Ghani’s insistence.

Earlier on Friday, the premier held a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

During his 45-minute meeting with the UN chief, issues related to Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism and the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region. The UN chief also congratulated Pakistan on attaining permanent membership of the SCO, and hoped the move will bring more prosperity to the region.

The Kazakh capital is expected to host the two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) due to start on Thursday.

The 2017 summit would gather the leaders of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and would be the first one with Islamabad and New Delhi as full-fledged members of the international organization. The leaders of several non-SCO member states, such as Belarus will also visit Astana.

Within the framework of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold meetings with a number of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and could have talks with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.

According to Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov, 11 documents have been prepared ahead of the SCO summit, including the decisions of accession of India and Pakistan, as well as a convention on countering extremism and a statement of heads of states on countering terrorism.

The official added that the SCO members would pay a special attention to the situation in Afghanistan that had escalated in recent months amid the activities of Daesh terrorism groups, outlawed in Russia among other countries.

The next summit of the organization would take place in 2018 in China, the Russian presidential aide added.

The SCO was established on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai by six countries. At the 2016 summit held in Uzbekistan, the SCO leaders signed memorandums on the accession of India and Pakistan to the organization.

With the inclusion of Pakistan and India, the SCO will have a total of eight states as permanent members — after China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Other observer states and governments and international organisations are also part of the group.

The group will then represent nearly half of the world’s population after the inclusion of the subcontinental neighbours.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meeting President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on June 8, 2017.

On Thursday, the prime minister held separate meetings with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Sharif, Modi exchange pleasantries in Astana

He also reportedly exchanged pleasantries with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, a bilateral meeting between the two is not part of the schedule of both prime ministers.

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