DATELINE: MOSCOW June 10
Nations applying for membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) must not be under UN sanctions, or in a state of armed conflict with other states, says a draft provision on the rules of admitting new members to the SCO.
The draft is expected to be approved at the SCO’s summit, opening in Tashkent on Thursday. President Dmitry Medvedev will attend.
Nations applying for SCO membership must belong to the Eurasian region, maintain diplomatic relations with all SCO members, have the status of observer in the SCO, or partner-in-dialog status, and be actively involved in trade and economic and humanitarian exchanges with the member-states. They must not be under UN sanctions, or in a state of armed conflict with another country, or group of countries, the draft says.
Meanwhile, the draft statement on the outcome of the summit has provisions, saying that further efforts must be made to lay the legal groundwork for admitting new members.
The National Coordinators Council will be instructed to draft a standard memorandum, regulating legal, organizational and financial aspects of SCO membership.
The SCO is currently comprised of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia have observer status, and Belarus and Sri Lanka the status of partners in dialog.
The organization’s Foreign Ministers Council, at Kazakhstan’s initiative, imposed a temporary moratorium on admitting new members and observes in 2006. Also in 2006, Pakistan applied for full-fledged membership, and Iran applied in 2007 and 2008.
Belarus requested observer status in 2005 and Sri Lanka and Nepal in 2007. Ukraine, Egypt, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Turkey Qatar and other countries showed interest in establishing contacts with the SCO at different times.