Izvestia published a list of countries wishing to join the SCO

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According to the newspaper, a total of ten states want to join the SCO, and at the next summit in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia can grant observer status< source srcset="https://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/resized/800xH/media/img/8/58/756595673324588.webp 800w" type="image/webp" media="(max-width: 400px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)" >< source srcset="https://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/resized/590xH/media/img/8/58/756595673324588.webp 590w" type="image/webp" >

Leaders of the SCO member states at the 2019 summit in Bishkek

Ten other countries currently want to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including the UAE, Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Izvestia reports this with reference to two high-ranking sources close to the organization.

According to the interlocutors of the newspaper, in the near future the SCO is waiting for a «‎large wave of expansion»‎ at the expense of the Arab countries and the states of Southeast Asia (SEA). “As many as ten countries were asked to consider applications for raising their status within the SCO. Among them are representatives of the Arab world: Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE. Moreover, the Emirates asked to be granted the status of members of the association immediately. From SEA want Myanmar, Cambodia and Nepal. From neighboring countries— Armenia and Azerbaijan. We see an unprecedented scale of interest in the SCO, — one of Izvestia's sources said.

He added that Uzbekistan also plans to invite most of this “ten”‎ candidates for the summit in Samarkand, however, “‎of course, it will not be possible to gather all of them at once‎‎.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry clarified to the newspaper that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman was invited to the events in September, but when asked‎ the press service of the departments did not answer about which of the other world leaders was invited to the summit.

“There is a consensus, albeit with some nuances, to grant observer status to Azerbaijan and Armenia, given that they have been dialogue partners of the SCO since 2016. There is a similar proposal for Cambodia and Nepal,— pointed out another interlocutor of the publication, close to the organizing committee of the SCO.

At the same time, the most unusual situation, according to him, has developed with the application of the UAE, which wanted to immediately join the SCO as a member. However, as the source explained, the regulation on the admission of new countries provides that the applicant must have the status of either an observer or a dialogue partner of the SCO before applying for membership.

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The SCO was founded in 2001 by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Later, India and Pakistan joined the SCO. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are currently observers, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partners of the organization.

At the last summit, which was held in September 2021 in Dushanbe, the participants signed a package of several dozen documents. One of the key points was the decision to start the procedure for admitting Iran to the organization and granting partner status to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In July 2022, Belarus applied to join the SCO as a full member.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a week earlier that on the eve of the association full members of the SCO or join as observers and dialogue partners.

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