An international meeting on Afghanistan will take place in Kabul on June 14, Russian acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states in Beijing on Friday.
“We should actively participate in all international discussions on Afghanistan-related problems, coordinating our positions and stressing the SCO’s readiness to constructively contribute to efforts by the international community aimed at the political and economic revival of Afghanistan,” Lavrov said.
Granting SCO observer status to the country would help achieve these goals, he said, adding that the SCO foreign ministers could make a relevant decision on Friday.
Russia has no common border with Afghanistan, but the two countries are only separated by former Soviet Central Asian republics that have porous borders with Russia and Afghanistan. Every year, dozens of tons of Afghan heroin flow into Russia from Afghanistan via the Central Asian states, killing an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Russians.
Lavrov also called on his SCO colleagues to speed up the process of India and Pakistan’s accession to the organization, saying that delaying the decision on their membership was “counterproductive.”
The SCO, set up in 2001, includes Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia have observer status while Turkmenistan and Afghanistan attend SCO gatherings as guest nations.
China has held the organization’s rotating presidency since August 1, 2011.