IP- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Mongolia is the obvious next candidate for joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with all member states supporting its accession.

Iran Press/Europe: Lavrov made the remarks following a meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers.

He emphasized that Mongolia fits organically into the SCO space and that the organization's members are unequivocally in favor of its membership.

The Russian Foreign Minister noted that 14 countries currently hold the status of dialogue partners within the SCO, with applications from Laos and Algeria.

Lavrov expressed his hope that the SCO's rules and norms would be upgraded to simplify the process for countries to join the organization.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established in June 2001 by six founding members: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined later. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia are observer states.

Lavrov's statement highlights the growing importance of the SCO as a regional organization, with Mongolia's potential membership seen as a significant development. The SCO's expansion could further strengthen its influence in the region and potentially create new economic opportunities for its member states.

Mongolia's accession to the SCO could enhance its regional influence and provide a platform for cooperation on issues such as trade, security, and infrastructure development. 204