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14 April 2022, 18:17

Uzbekistan preparing for SCO summit, expects Lukashenko to attend it

Samarkand. Photo by pixabay.com
Samarkand. Photo by pixabay.com

MINSK, 14 April (BelTA) - Uzbekistan is preparing to host a meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand in September and expects Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko to attend it, Charge d'Affaires of Uzbekistan in Belarus Rakhmatulla Nazarov told the media, BelTA has learned.

Uzbekistan, presiding in the SCO in 2022, is gearing up to host the SCO summit in the ancient city of Samarkand. To host a large number of participants of this major forum, the city is actively preparing its infrastructure and building special facilities, including an international tourist center on the area of 135 hectares. According to the embassy's representative, the main forum events will take place there. The center will also feature hotels for participating delegations. Each participating country will have a separate hotel.

“The summit will undoubtedly become a major political and diplomatic forum and will go down in history as an important step in the further evolution of the organization. Uzbekistan's active and open, pragmatic and constructive foreign policy will create a solid foundation for making important decisions at the upcoming summit,” Rakhmatulla Nazarov said. “We also expect our Belarusian friends to attend the summit. A full range of services and opportunities will be prepared for that.”

Earlier, Ambassador of Belarus to China Yuri Senko told the media about the intention of the Belarusian head of state to attend the SCO summit in September and the plans to hold a bilateral meeting between Aleksandr Lukashenko and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the forum. “We are trying to make this organization beneficial for all its participants: member states, observers, dialogue partners. We want the difficulties we experience separately to be reduced to zero with the help of such events and organizations. We will do our best to ensure that this organization benefits all states involved,” he stressed.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent intergovernmental international organization. Its creation was announced by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Shanghai on 15 June 2001. Prior to that, the countries cooperated as the Shanghai Five - without Uzbekistan.

Currently, eight countries are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In addition to its founders, there are also India and Pakistan which joined the organization in 2017. Belarus received observer status in the SCO in 2015. Three other countries have the same status in the organization: these are Afghanistan, Mongolia and Iran. Iran is expected to become a full member soon. “We hope that Belarus will soon decide on accession too and we will start the procedure for your country to join the SCO,” the embassy's representative said.

The SCO also has nine dialogue partners: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (the last three countries received this status last year).

The total area of the SCO member-states exceeds 34 million square kilometers or more than 60% of the territory of the Eurasian continent. Over 3 billion people live there.

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