Russia: Putin for expansion of SCO membership
- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told the SCO s Council of Ministers summit in St Petersburg that Russia favoured the expansion of the membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
- Enlargement will add to the SCO s capabilities, authority and influence. Russia also supported the idea of creating an energy club within the framework of the SCO. Currently India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia have observer status in the SCO.
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation.
- The official working languages of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are Chinese and Russian.
- Headquarters: Beijing, China
- Member States: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan
- Observer States: India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan
- Dialogue Partners: Belarus, Sri Lanka
- Guest Attendances: ASEAN, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), Turkmenistan
- Afghanistan, while not an observer, is currently part of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. The contact group was established in 2005, and serves as a mechanism for SCO member states to jointly contribute to reconstruction and stability in Afghanistan. In June 2011 Russia decided to support Afghanistan in becoming an observer state. In October 2011, Russian Ambassador in Kabul explained that Moscow supports Afghanistan’s bid for becoming a member state.