BEIJING, March 14. /TASS/. Azerbaijan signed on Monday a memorandum on granting it the status of dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The document was inked by SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
"The status of dialogue partner in the SCO will allow the Republic of Azerbaijan to swiftly join multifaceted and diversified activity of the organization through participation in the existing mechanisms of cooperation," Alimov told the ceremony.
He said this is especially important this year as the SCO marks its 15th anniversary. The organization’s summit will be held in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent this June and the preparation for the event "is of priority importance in the work of our group."
Armenia and Nepal are also preparing to sign similar documents this month.
The SCO comprises six member-states - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The summit in Tashkent is expected to confirm that India and Pakistan will join the organization. Iran and Afghanistan, which have a status of observer states, have requested to join the SCO as full-fledged members.
The number of countries in the SCO family, both observer states and dialogue partners, reaches 18. A range of other states have announced plans to participate in the activity of the SCO uniting countries that are home to around 3 billion people.