A group photograph of the SCO heads of state during a summit in Ufa in 2015. Source: Reuters
Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Ukraine are interested in collaborating with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in a variety of ways, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov told Russian reporters on Nov. 22 at the UN headquarters. He added that the SCO was in no rush to expand.
“There are many aspirants,” Alimov said. “We have queries from Israel, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine, the Maldives, and from some others. The SCO continues drawing interest.”
He suggested that this interest would further grow after the admission of new members, India and Pakistan.
“We’re not rushing to expand,” he said. “Now we’re working step by step with India and Pakistan as specified by the Memorandum on Obligations. First we will round out this procedure and then we’ll see how the whole pattern works.”
He said expansion was not an end in itself for the SCO. “We proceeded from the assumption that conditions should be ripe, and now by our 15th anniversary they’re ripe and we’re taking steps forward.”
The SCO was founded in 2001 by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The procedure of extending full membership to India and Pakistan began in 2015.