Russia, China want India, Pakistan to become SCO members shortly



Russia and China would like to seek India and Pakistan among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, October 31, after a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin and his Chinese counterpart Cheng Guoping.

“The sides called for accelerated SCO enlargement in keeping with the decisions of the Council of the SCO Heads of State made in Astana in June,” the ministry said, referring to admission of India and Pakistan as members and Afghanistan as an observer, and granting of the status of dialogue partner to Turkey.

The diplomats “’coordinated the positions of the sides on further improvement of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s activities in the light of preparations for a meeting of the Council of Heads of Government in St. Petersburg on November 7 and the SCO summit in China in the summer of 2012.”

They “confirmed the readiness of Russia and China to interact effectively in ensuring security and stability in the SCO region, intensifying economic cooperation, primarily in the fields of transport, energy, science and technologies, in financing joint projects, and further facilitating humanitarian ties within the organisation,” the ministry said.

“The consultations were held in an atmosphere of full understanding and trust that are characteristic of Russian-Chinese strategic partnership,” it said.

No new admissions to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation were made at its summit in Astana on June 14-15.

But “the interest in the Organisation is growing” and the SCO “makes an ever growing contribution to the development of confidence and security building measures”, presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said earlier.

“The Organisation has become an effective mechanism, free of bureaucracy, for working out decisions and recommendations, and makes a positive contribution to the resolution of many regional problems,” Prikhodko said.

The summiteers in Astana signed a memorandum on the obligations of the SCO Member States for acquiring the status of a SCO Member State.

“This document will help to further develop the legal framework for SCO enlargement. The next stage would be harmonising legal, organisational and financial aspects of SCO membership for newcomers,” the official said.

Last year, the SCO foreign ministers approved the draft regulation on new admissions.

“The approval by the ministers of the draft regulation on new admissions to the Organisation has confirmed the Organisation's openness to other states in the region that undertake to comply with the goal and principles of the SCO Charter and the provisions of other international treaties and documents adopted by the SCO. The endorsement of this document at a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in Tashkent on June 10-11 [2010] will start the process of devising a mechanism for enlarging the organisation,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

“The ministers considered a number of priority tasks concerning further intensification of interaction in the organisation. The ministers exchanged views on pressing regional and global issues, the main tendencies in the world, and the strengthening of stability and security in Central Asia for further consolidation of the status of the SCO as an influential international organisation,” the document said.

A country under U.N. sanctions cannot seek membership in the SCO.

The status of SCO observers has been granted to Mongolia, India, Pakistan, and Iran (the latter is under a number of U.N. sanctions).

“A country that is seeking SCO membership may not be under U.N. Security Council sanctions,” a Russian diplomat at the SCO said earlier, referring to a provision in the joint statement adopted by the SCO foreign ministers.

A number of countries, including Iran, India, and Pakistan, have already stated their intention to join the SCO. However the organisation has so far had no mechanism for new admissions.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation.

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