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15 September 2022, 12:13

Lukashenko arrives in Samarkand for SCO summit

SAMARKAND, 15 September (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has arrived in the Uzbek city of Samarkand to attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on 15-16 September, BelTA has learned.

In the airport, the president was welcomed by Uzbekistan Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. After a brief conversation, Aleksandr Lukashenko went to the city for bilateral meetings accompanied by motorcyclists and a helicopter. The first meeting is with the host of the summit, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The Belarusian head of state is expected to make a speech at an extended-participation session of the SCO Heads of State Council on 16 September. Aleksandr Lukashenko will outline priorities of Belarus' interaction within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, considering Belarus' application to join this organization as a full member. Belarus has the observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at present. Topical items on the international agenda will also be discussed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is expected to meet with foreign counterparts on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. They will discuss primarily bilateral affairs and the advancement of cooperation in key avenues. The Belarusian president will also take part in a number of informal events Uzbekistan has organized for participants of the summit.

The strengthening and expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is of particular importance in the context of combating western sanctions, Belarusian First Deputy Minister of Foreign Ministers Sergei Aleinik said in an interview with BelTA in the run-up to the summit. "The organization unites the states who seek to develop a multipolar, equal and inclusive world order and who oppose the interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, the use of double standards and illegal unilateral sanctions," he said.

Belarus shares the approaches of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to countering protectionism and trade wars, which hinder global development and are fraught with a deep economic recession.

According to Belarusian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Leonid Marinich, the authority and influence of the SCO are growing; the organization is already a peer to major international associations. According to him, membership in the SCO will open up additional advantages for Belarus in the markets of the states that are members of this organization. "We will have access to a huge market. It seems to be open now but the access to this market will become better and easier. So it's beneficial for us. Secondly, financial and material flows will increase significantly, since the economic union between the SCO countries is very strong, and the organization has showed it throughout its existence," the diplomat said.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent intergovernmental international organization, the establishment of which was announced in Shanghai, China on 15 June 2001. The SCO prioritizes cooperation in security, trade and economy. The common goal is to ensure a favorable international environment based on the principles of the "Shanghai spirit" which embodies mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultation, respect for the diversity of cultures, the pursuit of common development.

Today, the SCO member states are India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. the procedure for Iran joining the SCO as a full member was launched following the SCO summit in Dushanbe on 15 September 2021. Belarus currently has the status of an observer state at the SCO and has applied for membership in the organization. It is expected that this issue, among others, will be considered at the summit in Samarkand.

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).

Belarus considers the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an international platform for developing cooperation in countering the threats of terrorism, extremism, organized crime and drug trafficking. It advocates strengthening the economic dimension of the SCO as the most important factor of stability in the Eurasian region. The country has been participating in the SCO since 2010 in the capacity of a dialogue partner and since 2015 - in the capacity of an observer, takes an active part in all major dimensions of the SCO's activities: political-diplomatic, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian, and military.

In 2021, the SCO states accounted for 57.8% of the total trade of Belarus, including 47.7% of exports and 67.4% of imports.

In terms of economy, Belarus is interested in the development of the common transport space of the SCO, international road transport, and coordinated development of roads, rail transportation, which will contribute to multimodal transportation, development of a network of transport infrastructure and transit potential. Since 11 November 2018, Belarus has been a party to the agreement between the governments of the SCO member states to create favorable conditions for international road transport.

Belarus is also interested in cooperation within the SCO in all areas of cultural and humanitarian cooperation and also in cooperation with SCO cultural information centers and funds.

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