The Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) isn’t an “elite club” and is willing to interact with non-member nations, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. Medvedev is currently in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, along with leaders of other SCO member-nations, for the 10th anniversary of the group. Founded in the year 2001, the SCO consists of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and China, while Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia hold observers’ status. Ten years after the formation of the group, the member nations are due to discuss the implications of the Arab Spring and the future of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Karzai has expressed hope that the country would be accepted to SCO. President Medvedev pointed out that Moscow and other SCO member countries support the notion of establishing a multifaceted relationship with Afghanistan. “Russia is calling for more intensive and deeper cooperation between the SCO and Afghanistan,” Medvedev stated at the summit. “Eventually, the process of political stabilization in Afghanistan depends on this (extended cooperation with the SCO), and the security of our states to a great degree depends on the situation in this country,” he further commented.