Russian Ambassador to China: Russia is ready to discuss expansion of SCO

Russian diplomats are ready to discuss future expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation /SCO/, including Russia, China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Russian Ambassador to China Igor Rogachev informed RIA Novosti in the light of the upcoming summit of the SCO heads in Moscow.

When answering a question about a possibility of India's joining the SCO, he said that similar statements had already been voiced by a number of states showing big interest in the organisation. Mr. Rogachev also pointed out that some international organisations had shown similar interest.

According to him, the SCO is an open organisation, which is determined in its charter. The process of the SCO forming is currently coming to an end. Until its corresponding bodies do not start functioning and a mechanism to admit new members is not developed, the organisation abides by a temporary scheme of SCO cooperation with other international organisations and states adopted by the Foreign Ministers in November 2002 in Moscow, Mr. Rogachev stated.

According to him, at the coming summit the SCO heads will discuss important practical tasks. At the Council meeting in Alma-Ata on April 29th the Foreign Ministers approved a set of documents determining the functions of the SCO bodies as well as its symbolism - an emblem and a flag. They are also to be approved by the SCO heads. The Minister also passed a draft of the final political document.

The leaders of the six countries will confirm the SCO Executive Secretary, Mr. Rogachev stated. His candidacy has already been approved - for the first three years the SCO Secretariat will be headed by a Chinese representative, China's current Ambassador in Moscow Zhang Deguang.

According to Mr. Rogachev, financial issues are also being considered to pass the first SCO budget as early as in 2003. This, in its turn, will allow ensuring full functioning of the SCO Secretariat in Beijing and the headquarters of the Regional antiterrorist structure in Bishkek since 2004.

At the SCO summit in Moscow the six countries' leaders will undoubtedly discuss the international situation and regional problems.

After its foundation the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been pursuing an active cooperation policy on the international scene. It has been touching upon problems of international and regional character like terrorism, separatism, extremism, the Afghani crisis and others. These problems will be certainly discussed in Moscow and reflected in a joint document, which will be adopted after the meeting, the Ambassador added.

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