A number of sidebar conversations are expected to take place between leaders from the largest nations measured by population and land area beneath a backdrop of a meeting in Uzbekistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Council of Heads of State summit.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as he travels outside of China for the first time since the COVID-19 Pandemic began in order to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Kazakhstan. Xi, whose presence analysts say both projects confidence in his standing and underscores the value he places in the organization, leaves China just weeks before the Communist Party meets to determine the leadership for the next five years.
Iran, which is currently listed as having the status of an observer, is expected to pursue full membership. According to the Tehran Times, Iran is already in the process of fulfilling the requirements but that it might be two years before they obtain membership. Expansion of the organization has been a focal point of this year’s agenda, according to China Global Times:
One of the key agendas for the Samarkand summit is enlarging the membership. The heads of SCO states will adopt a memorandum of obligations for Iran to receive SCO membership. The SCO has also received Belarus’ application and admission procedures could begin at the summit in Samarkand.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt will formally become SCO dialogue partners with the signing of relevant documents and negotiations will be held on granting Bahrain, the Maldives and other states’ the status of dialogue partner.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a multilateral security and economic alliance whose members constitute roughly 40% of the global population and nearly a third of the global GDP. While the organization has served as a proving ground for closer military relations between member states Russia and China, the organization as a whole has expressed that it is not a military alliance, but instead exists to deal with internal security threats such as terrorism.
China, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.