New Members May Join Shanghai Cooperation Organization in July - Lavrov

© AP Photo / Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press ServiceLeaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - Sputnik International
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During the upcoming summit in Russia, the SCO will review the membership applications of India, Pakistan, Iran and other countries.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A political decision to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with new members joining may take place during the next summit in July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

“We are preparing for the summit in Ufa (Russia). During this summit we will discuss issues of its further intensification, the further concretization of cooperative projects within the SCO, and we will review the issue of expanding the organization,” Lavrov said at the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow.

Lavrov said the criteria for adding new members to the SCO were approved during the summit in 2014.

“We will review the applications from a wide range of countries during the summit in Ufa, including India, Pakistan, and Iran,” Lavrov said.

In order to fight terrorism and drug production and trafficking in the country, Afghanistan needs the assistance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries, founder of Afghan Community Foundation Najib Paikan and former Counter Narcotics Minister Gen. Khodaidad told Sputnik Radio on Friday. - Sputnik International
Afghanistan Needs Help From SCO to Fight Terrorism, Drug Trafficking
The SCO, a Eurasian political, economic and military alliance founded in 2001, currently comprises such member states as Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Observer status has been granted to Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Earlier this month Indian Ambassador to Russia Pundi Srinivasan Raghavan stressed that his country is ready to become a full member of the organization.

In January the spokesperson for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry expressed Pakistan's willingness to become a member of the SCO and play a constructive role in furthering the organization's strategy. Iran also expressed an aim of permanent SCO membership during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's special envoy's visit to Moscow on January 28.

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