SCO Tashkent summit reiterates adherence to regional stability (2)

08:32, June 12, 2010      

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During the summit, participants approved the SCO Rules of Procedure, and a process for future membership expansion.

Medvedev called these rules "an important internal corporative document". Still, as Uzbek Presidnt Islam Karimov noted, this did not mean the bloc's "automatic expansion" but only created the judicial base for such an expansion.

Iran has long been seeking membership of the six-member alliance, which was established in 2001 to ensure security along the border between China and former Soviet republics. Nevertheless, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was on a visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan this week, did not attend the SCO Tashkent summit.

Ahmadinejad "received an invitation in due time, like other participants, confirmed (his participation) and then it was up to him to decide," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said of the Iranian leader's absence.

Analysts believe the Iranian President, whose country has observer status at the SCO along with India, Pakistan and Mongolia, decided to snub the meeting over Russia's support of new sanctions by the U.N. Security Council.

"As for Iran, it is clear that neither Russia nor China want the SCO to be in opposition to the rest of the world. The SCO leaders made it clear that a country subject to international sanctions cannot become an SCO member," Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs Magazine, told RIA Novosti news agency.

"Given the marked deterioration in Russian-Iranian relations, Tehran has little chance of being admitted in the near future", Lukyanov, who is also a Member of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, said.
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