SAMARKAND, 16 September (BelTA) - The decision to launch the procedure for Belarus' accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was adopted at the summit in Samarkand, BelTA has learned.
The corresponding document was signed following the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council.
Belarus has been a dialogue partner since 2010 and an observer in the SCO since 2015.
The summit decision does not automatically mean changing a country's status. According to the Regulation on the Admission of New Members to the SCO of 11 June 2010, an applicant state must accede to the international treaties in force in the SCO (about 40), make the necessary changes to the national legislation (India and Pakistan took about two years for this, Iran is undergoing the relevant procedures).
"We had enough time to compare the goals and objectives of the organization with the interests of our state, to assess the intensive and constructive work of the organization and to make sure of our own strength and capabilities," the head of state said.
"We are very grateful for the unanimous support of our bid to join the organization as a full member," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the head of state, taking into account the strategically important geographical position, Belarus is able to organically complement the structure of the organization. "We can offer our transit, industrial and scientific potential, and experience in peacekeeping and multilateral diplomacy," he added.
Around 40 documents have been adopted at the summit. The Samarkand Declaration, the main political outcome of the summit, reflects the consolidated positions of the member states on the most important regional and global issues. It also outlines joint approaches to further improving of practical cooperation, ensuring regional stability, security and sustainable economic development, strengthening transport connectivity, and advancing cultural dialogue.
The SCO Heads of State Council considered such important documents as the comprehensive action plan to implement the treaty on long-term good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, the SCO concept of cooperation to develop connectivity and create effective transport corridors, the program to stimulate industrial cooperation, the regulations on the honorary title of "SCO Goodwill Ambassador" and others.
One of the important issues was the expansion of the SCO. In addition to the decision on Belarus, the summit adopted a number of documents with regard to other countries who are acquiring a full membership in the SCO or the status of an observer or dialogue partner.
The leaders also adopted the documents on gradual increase in the share of national currencies in the mutual settlements of the SCO member states, on education, science and culture, combating terrorism, responding to climate change, maintaining the security and stability of international production and supply chains, cooperation in tourism, trade in services, museums, plant quarantine, and the use of renewable energy.
A number of documents relate to infrastructure development, stimulating industrial cooperation between business, promoting digital literacy, artificial intelligence, partnership in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, cooperation in science and technology, development of intraregional trade, interaction in the field of "smart" agriculture and the introduction of agricultural innovations.