ASTANA, April 21. /TASS/. Iran now fully meets the criteria of Shanghai Cooperation Organization membership, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after a meeting of the SCO foreign ministers on Friday.
"Iran is next in line (for SCO membership). Many said so today. It has settled all issues related with UN Security Council sanctions," Lavrov said. "Now it is in full compliance with SCO membership criteria. We hope that the heads of state will be able to consider the beginning of the procedure to make Iran a full-fledged member (at the SCO summit - TASS) in Astana in June."
Among other documents discussed by the SCO foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov singled out a draft convention on countering extremism. "This is a very important and innovative document, which formulates for the first time the tasks to counter extremist ideology, extremism as a phenomenon that undermines countries’ stability," he said. We hope that this convention will too be approved by our countries’ leaders."
"Work has been in progress for more than a year now on the SCO anti-drug strategy and efforts to implement it," Russia’s top diplomat said. "Today we agreed to give an impetus to our countries’ relevant agencies to complete this work by the Astana summit as well."
"Another convention is a convention on cooperation in environmental protection, which is of no small importance," he said. "Russia gives special attention to this issue, while our partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are also taking steps in this regard."
"Finally, an inter-governmental agreement on the activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be signed, it unites 80 educational institutions in the SCO member-countries," Lavrov added.
The ministerial meeting is the final stage of preparations for the SCO summit to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital in June. The Declaration on establishing the SCO was signed in Shanghai in June 2001 by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The organization also has six observer states (Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Belarus) and six dialogue partners (Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal).