The interest in the SCO was not limited to the territory of its member countries, but it was necessary to approach its expansion with caution, Mr Ivanov told Russian news agencies.
''Integration is a lengthy process, and it would not be sensible to step it up. At this point, the SCO aims not so much at accepting new members as at making its work more productive,'' he said answering a query whether the current four observer members, including India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia, would be admitted to the group.
''The SCO Secretariat is drafting a programme of measures to strengthen economic, humanitarian and other cooperation with observer members,'' Interfax news agency quoted Mr Ivanov as saying.
''We will carefully consider applications for the SCO full membership,'' he said, adding, ''Any international agency has certain rules and conditions of expansion that both the organisation and new applicants must observe.'' UNI XC MS BD1656