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MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Russia has no doubts that India and Pakistan will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) following the June summit due in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, Russian Special Presidential Representative for SCO, Foreign Ministry’s Special Envoy Bakhtiyer Khakimov said in an interview with Russia’s Kommersant daily.
"In the first years following its establishment, the organization was setting up mechanisms for cooperation and building a strong structure so that member states could effectively interact in the spheres outlined in the SCO Charter," Khakimov said. "But two years ago, a unanimous decision was made to expand the organization."
According to him, participants in the SCO foreign ministers meeting, scheduled to be held on April 21 in Astana, are expected to approve the concluding statements made by national coordinators. After that, the agreed draft documents on granting SCO membership to India and Pakistan will be submitted for approval to the member states’ heads. "We believe that granting membership to India and Pakistan will be the key event of the SCO summit in Astana," the Russian diplomat stressed. "There is currently no doubt that everything will be fine."
The Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was singed in China’s Shanghai in June 2001 by six founding states - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.