|The participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit to take place in Yekaterinburg in June 2009 are unlikely to endorse the organization's enlargement through the incorporation of other members, SCO Secretary General Bolat Nurgaliyev told Interfax on Wednesday. |
"To join the SCO as a member, you have to undergo a special procedure, which takes time. It is virtually impossible that a decision on adopting new members could be made, even if a relevant document is compiled," he said.
In line with agreements reached at the previous summits, an instruction was issued to draft a document on criteria for the organization's enlargement, Nurgaliyev said. The document had to take into account the following factors: a candidate country's compliance with the SCO goals, proximity with the organization's territory, mandatory adoption of the SCO legal basis, absence of UN sanctions, and some others.
"There is one more important criterion: enlargement should strengthen the organization rather than cause internal problems," Nurgaliyev said. "We would like to preserve the positive achievements accumulated over the eight years of its existence," he said.
The work on the document on principles and criteria of the SCO enlargement is proceeding at the expert level, and several meetings have taken place, Nurgaliyev said. For the document to come into force, it has to be signed by all SCO members, he said.
"As long as there is no such document, we cannot admit new countries to the SCO," he said.
The SCO is comprised of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In addition, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Mongolia hold observer status in it.
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