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ST PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. A process of India’s and Pakistan’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be officially launched at the SCO summit due to be held in the Russian city of Ufa in July, SCO Secretary General Dmitry Mezentsev told reporters at a meeting of the SCO Business Council board in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
"I believe the process will kick-start in Ufa," Mezentsev said. "First, a meeting of the foreign ministers’ council took place in Moscow following very professional consecutive work at the floor of national coordinators and at this stage a draft agenda of the summit is presented, where this issue had been put on."
Mezentsev said that "bids of India, Iran and Pakistan had been submitted earlier and now these countries are SCO full-fledged observers." India’s latest written bid for membership was "submitted by the country’s president in September last year ahead of the summit of heads of state."
The SCO secretary general recalled that "the country bidding for full-fledged membership should meet the requirements prescribed in all documents of the organisation, including in the SCO Charters."
"But along with this, the country that is granted with the right to join the SCO has to become a signatory under the organisation’s 27 regulations, part of which has a status of national law for SCO member countries."
Mezentsev noted certain restrictions for Iran’s possible accession to the SCO.
"In the SCO legal framework there is a provision that a status of a full-fledged member envisages that the country should comply with a number of regulatory acts, in particular the country should not be under the UN Security Council’s sanctions," he said adding that "It is clear that any country aspiring for the SCO membership should take into consideration a whole package of requirements the SCO demands from its new members."
"But at the same time we suppose that the organisation’s attitude to the bids will be worded at the Ufa summit," the SCO secretary general went on to say. "I can also say that the bids will be accepted with respect and attention."
On June 3 foreign ministers from the SCO member countries held a Council’s meeting chaired by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov resulting in a joint statement saying that "preparations for the summit of the SCO member countries due to be held in Ufa on July 9-10 were on the table" and that "a decision to launch a procedure of India’s and Pakistan’s accession to the SCO as member countries will be crucially important."
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent regional international association established in Shanghai on June 15, 2001. The SCO announces joint counteraction to terrorism, extremism and the boosting of cooperation in energy, oil and gas, transport, telecommunications and other sectors as its top priority.
Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the current member countries, with Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan having a status of observers and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka - of dialogue partners.
The SCO population stands at 1.597 billion people, or one fourth of the Earth population, while the aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) amounts to $11.6 trillion.