20 Mar 2023 11:59

Iran backs Belarus's desire to join SCO - ambassador

MINSK. March 20 (Interfax) - Iran supports Belarus's desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Iranian Ambassador to Belarus Alireza Sanei said.

"Belarus plans to join the SCO, and Iran supports this desire," the diplomat said on the Belarusian state TV channel ONT on Sunday.

"There is a turning point now, as the world is changing its unipolar order for a multipolar one, and the SCO plays a key role here. Its participants include four nuclear powers, and two of its member states are [permanent] UN Security Council members. The SCO accounts for 42% of the global population. Iran and Russia are major energy suppliers and China and India consumers. This shows the organization's scope and influence," he said.

As reported earlier, SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming said the process of Belarus's accession to the SCO was making progress.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with Zhang on March 10 that his country set itself the goal of joining the SCO in the first half of 2023, before the organization's summit in New Delhi.

Belarus has been an SCO dialogue partner since 2010 and held observer status since 2015. The decision on launching the procedure of admitting Belarus to the organization was made at the SCO summit in Uzbekistan's Samarkand in September 2022.

The SCO comprises China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia hold observer status. It emerged on January 25, 2023 that Iran had completed all legal formalities to become an SCO member.