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Friday 10th
posted by James Tweedie in World

Lavrov favours application at Eurasian security bloc summit

IRAN could soon become a full member of the the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO), Russia’s foreign minister said yesterday.

Sergei Lavrov was speaking at the joint SCO/Brics summit a day after historic enemies India and Pakistan applied for membership of the Eurasian security bloc.

He told a press conference in Ufa, the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, that the SCO would help the two countries overcome their differences and added that he welcomed the prospect of the SCO summit approving Iran’s application.

“We proceed from the assumption that Iran, like India and Pakistan, has applied for full SCO membership,” he said.

“We are in favour of tomorrow’s summit endorsing this application, so that it is realised on the basis of the regular SCO membership criteria.”

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. The two leaders discussed settling negotiations with the P5+1 group of world powers over Iran’s nuclear energy programme, as well as expanding trade and energy co-operation between the two countries.

Mr Lavrov, who returned from the nuclear talks in Vienna on Tuesday, said negotiators were close to a final agreement based on “a formula of ensuring Iran’s right to develop peaceful atomic materials, for clarifying all issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme, and lifting all sanctions.”

Turning to Western criticism of the Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Mr Lavrov said the Brics and SCO leaders were united on the issue.

“I believe everyone understands — even those who are unable to stop talking about this — that the Crimea issue is closed,” he said.

The Russian politician criticised Western attempts to revise the history of World War II.

He said the position of the SCO was to “prevent the glorification of nazism and to curb some very dangerous trends that we are observing near our borders on the European continent.”

On the threat from Islamic State (Isis), Mr Lavrov said that Brics and SCO had their own position — that all terrorist groups must be fought, without double standards or attempts to use “abnormal situations” for ulterior purposes.