Interview: SCO summit key in terms of high level political dialogues for members: Azerbaijani official
BAKU, April 19 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming SCO summit in China will be important in terms of a high level political dialogue and consultations among the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), says Hikmet Hajiyev, head of Press-Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
"The SCO summit will strengthen cooperation in various fields and identify new areas for cooperation," Hajiyev told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"The SCO is an organization that serves as an effective platform for political consultations and interaction to build confidence and cooperation in the region," he said.
"Azerbaijan has very close and traditional friendly relations with member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As an international organization and important platform, the SCO creates favorable conditions for the multilateral development of our relations with its member states," Hajiyev stressed.
He added that new transport projects, implemented jointly with regional states in the atmosphere of partnership and friendship, support the goals and priorities of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and promise wide opportunities for cooperation between SCO member states and neighboring countries in the field of transportation.
Hajiyev pointed out that Azerbaijan supports the SCO goals that promote cultural diversity and participates in various joint cultural projects in close cooperation with the SCO Secretariat, based in Beijing.
"Currently, Azerbaijan, which has a status of a dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, continues to work closely with the organization and its member states to expand cooperation in various fields," he stressed.
As for Azerbaijan's role within the SCO, Hajiyev said that his country intends "to raise relations with the SCO to a qualitatively new level."
"We hope that the SCO member states will revise the status of Azerbaijan in this organization," Hajiyev said, adding that the new status would give the country more opportunities to contribute to the activity of SCO and mutually beneficial cooperation.
This year's SCO summit is scheduled to be held in east China's coastal city of Qingdao in June, with China taking the rotating chair.
Azerbaijan's status as a dialogue partner in the SCO was officially approved in March 2016.
It is expected that Azerbaijan's membership in the SCO would give the country more opportunities to interact with China and Central Asian countries much more closely.
President of Azerbaijan llham Aliyev has recently said that Azerbaijan maintains constructive and friendly relations with all SCO member states.
He said Azerbaijan is interested in strengthening ties with the SCO, adding that the development of cooperation with the SCO members is one of Azerbaijan's key foreign policy priorities.