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    SCO MEMBERS DO NOT INTEND TO CHANGE ORGANIZATION'S COMPOSITION YET, LAVROV SAYS

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    MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - The members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) do not intend to change organization's composition yet.

    "Although many countries express their interest in the SCO we all understand that at the present stage the organization must continue its work in its current composition," the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov disclosed following the session of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council.

    Mr. Lavrov noted that "the issue concerning India's joining to the SCO activities have not been discussed yet, especially in the trilateral format (Russia, China and India), since it's tactless." According to him, "India doesn't set this issue for the discussion in the trilateral format." "India turned directly to the SCO, which will consider this issue in accordance with the common principles coordinated between the SCO member states in regard to the affixation of a new country to the organization in one or another form," the Russian Foreign Minister stressed.

    In the course of today's session Foreign Ministers of the SCO member states coordinated the provisions concerning the status of the SCO observers. The draft document on the status of the SCO observers will be presented for the signing at the SCO summit scheduled to be held in Tashkent, June 16-17, 2004.

    At present time Mongolia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Iran express great interest in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

    Mongolian and Afghani Presidents were invited to participate in the SCO Tashkent summit as guests.

    Foreign Ministers of the SCO member states consider the interaction within the organization's framework as one the priority directions in their foreign policies, Sergei Lavrov noted.

    "This organization is doing a lot for the benefits of our people and has already turned into a geopolitical reality and important factor for the formation of international relations new architecture, resting on international law, collective efforts in the spirit of equal rights and mutual account of interests," Mr. Lavrov said.

    "We are certain that the SCO has a brilliant future," he noted.

    At present the Shanghai Cooperation Organization includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

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