NOVO-OGARYOVO, September 17. /TASS/. Russia has hailed the decision to grant dialogue partner status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Dushanbe-hosted SCO summit via video link on Friday.
"Of course, we welcome the fact that dialogue partner status has been granted to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Russia is a proponent of these countries’ active involvement in various aspects of the SCO’s activities," he pointed out.
According to Putin, "a fairly impressive portfolio of applications from other states wishing to cooperate with the organization in one capacity or another" requires careful consideration.
"In practical terms, we believe it is appropriate to think about how to modernize and make more effective the participation of observers and dialogue partners in the work of the SCO," the Russian head of state said.
"In our view, it would be useful in the future, in parallel with the summits of the SCO member states’ leaders, to hold top-level and high-level events in the so-called SCO+ format with the invitation of all our partners," Putin noted.
The SCO consists of India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. That said, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are observer states, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.