MOSCOW, September 23. /TASS/. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is not considering the accession of Afghanistan to the organization for objective reasons, Special Envoy of the Russian President for SCO Affairs Bakhtiyor Khakimov told an online briefing on Thursday.
"As for the applications that we have: for example, Afghanistan's application for the SCO membership. For objective reasons, one cannot talk about any practical consideration of this application today. I think it is not even necessary to explain what reasons are hampering it," he said.
According to Khakimov, the Maldives and Bahrain applied for participation in the SCO and received a positive reaction from the member states.
He noted that some states, such as Armenia and Azerbaijan, have applied to raise their status within the SCO.
"We are working very closely with our partners on these applications. The mood within the SCO is quite positive. We considered their applications when preparing for the jubilee summit - the twentieth anniversary of the SCO. I think this will remain on the agenda for the period of the subsequent chairmanship [of Uzbekistan]," he noted.
"There are observers and there are dialogue partners [within the organization] and there are rules the SCO follows to involve all interested states in activities in certain areas - events, meetings. The SCO has documents available not only to observers, but also to all interested states. We give signals to those who would like to join the SCO activities, to make the most of the current opportunities, to participate in person or online in the events that are being held," the diplomat said.
According to Khakimov, a careful response to appeals from interested states is of utmost importance within the SCO.
"By granting the status of a dialogue partner to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we open up a new dimension - the Middle East," the diplomat noted.
Founded in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization includes India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. The following states are observers in the organization: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia. The SCO dialogue partners are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, Sri Lanka. This year, Tajikistan chairs the organization.
On September 16-17, a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council was held in Dushanbe under the chairmanship of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. It coincided with the 20th anniversary of the organization. The summit resulted in signing 30 documents that bring multifaceted cooperation to a new level. The participants gave the green light to the beginning of the process of admitting Iran as a member state, while Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were granted the status of a dialogue partner.