Monday, May 15, 2006

Iran leader to attend Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit

RIA Novosti:
The Iranian president plans to attend a five-year jubilee summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Shanghai on June 15, a government spokesman said Monday.

Gholam Hossein Elham said Iran, which has an observer status in the regional security organization, intended to be a proactive participant in the summit.

"God willing, President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization," he said.

Gholam-Hossein Elham said Iran was seeking broader cooperation with all the six members of the organization - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and China - in the economy, politics and culture, as well as in international affairs. READ MORE

"We value such cooperation both with the region in general and with individual countries, in particular such as Russia and China," he said.

Following a meeting of the organization's foreign ministers in Shanghai Monday, Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov said that Iran's membership in the association was not under consideration.

"There is a group of countries that would like to join the organization," Nazarov said. "This has not been discussed yet because the organization cannot admit an unlimited number of new members and there is no document that could regulate participation of a non-member country, including Iran."

India and Pakistan also acquired observer status in the organization in 2005.

Appearing at a Beijing conference on the organization's anniversary and prospects, Professor Mostafa Izaddoust of the Iranian Institute for Political and International Studies, said Iran regarded the organization's members and observers as its "best friends."

"Iran shares the organization's views on justice in international relations, security, peace and development," Izaddoust said.