A number of countries and international associations are showing keen interest in the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan), director of the Foreign Ministry's All-Asia Problems Department Alexander Ivanov told the media Wednesday.
According to him, the countries showing the interest include India, Pakistan, the US, Iran and Mongolia. The international organizations also interested in the Shanghai Six include the UN Counter-Terrorist Committee, OSCE, ASEAN and EU. Ivanov added that active consultations at this stage are held with the UN and ASEAN.
Speaking of the latter organization, ASEAN, Ivanov pointed out that the two organizations, ASEAN and SCO, are built upon similar principles and have similar goals. According to him, there are similar prospects of relations between the SCO and the UN, and the SCO and the EU.
Speaking of the SCO expansion, Ivanov emphasized that it is an open organization which is interested in cooperation with other nations. In particular, he singled out the United States among the aforementioned nations. He added that "the US is keenly interested in the possibility of observing the SCO activity." According to Ivanov, the US has "positive interest" with regard to SCO. Still, no requests that US observers attend its sessions have been received yet, he said.
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