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Kuwait to join Shanghai regional bloc as ‘dialogue partner’

Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding on Saturday to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a powerful regional bloc led by China and Russia.

The document was inked on the sidelines of a meeting of the SCO foreign ministers on May 4-5 in Panaji city, India, the state news agency KUNA reported.

“Kuwait’s joining of SCO as a dialogue partner is the first step towards joining the organization as a full member in the future,” said Kuwaiti Ambassador to India Jassim Al-Najem.

He added that the accession of some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as dialogue partners to the SCO “confirms the growing importance of the organization.”

On March 29, Saudi Arabia agreed to join the SCO as a dialogue partner in preparation for full membership.

The SCO was founded in June 2001 by China, Russia, and the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance is recognized as the world’s largest regional organization, with eight members, four observer states and several dialogue partners, including Türkiye.

Pakistan and India became full members in 2017.

Iran, an SCO observer state since June 2005, had its permanent membership approved in September 2021 and signed a memorandum of commitment a year later for its full accession.

*Writing by Ikram Kouachi

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