Medvedev calls for rules to admit new SCO members

June 16th, 2009 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Yekaterinburg (Russia), June 16 (RIA Novosti) Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev urged Tuesday for documents to be drawn up, setting out rules for admitting new members to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
“We need to speed up work on the draft documents regulating the admission of new members to the organization… We have been discussing the issue, and are unanimous on this,” Medvedev said while speaking at summit of the regional grouping in this Urals city of Yekaterinburg, an industrial town located nearly 1,400 km from Moscow,

The SCO, which includes Russia, China and four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - currently has no official arrangements for admitting members.

Iran and Pakistan, observer nations in the group along with India and Mongolia, have asked for full membership. Russian officials have said the group’s enlargement is held back by lack of admission rules, but China has warned against excessive expansion, saying it could hinder cooperation.

The SCO was set up as a security group, but has increasingly encompassed economic and energy projects. The alliance is seen as a counterbalance to US interests in energy-rich Central Asia.

Medvedev said the group seeks to bolster its position and strengthen partnerships with other countries and organizations.

The SCO is to decide on granting a partner nation status to Belarus and Sri Lanka at the summit, he said.

The Russian president also said member states of the grouping should use their national currencies in mutual trade.

The share of sovereign currencies in mutual trade should be increased to reduce dependence on international reserve currencies, Medvedev said and suggested that regional countries invest in each other’s financial instruments.

“We must strengthen the international currency system not only by strengthening the dollar’s positions, but also by creating new reserve currencies and possibly by eventually creating supranational payment instruments and means of settlements,” he said.

China has recently argued against a new supranational reserve currency that would cut reliance on the US dollar.

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