SAMARKAND, 16 September (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Samarkand. The talks took place prior to the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council, BelTA has learned.
"We need to stick together in order not just to survive but to take our place under the sun," the Belarusian head of state said.
He noted that the format of the meeting on the sidelines of a summit does not allow delving much deeper into the discussion of ways to promote the relations between Belarus and Iran. But this is an opportunity to agree on something in advance such as meetings and agenda, and to talk about some serious issues. "This is very important. Here we have this opportunity," the president said.
He also outlined two areas of work for the ministries of foreign affairs of Belarus and Iran: to intensify cooperation and to take stock of the relations.
According to him, the parties have already developed good relations but they need to be intensified: "We need to outline the areas in which we will build relations in the future between Iran and Belarus. To do this, our experts, ministers and foreign ministries must take stock of the issues on which we once tried to reach an agreement and on which we are working now, discard what is already outdated and keep working on the issues that hold promise and that will help us to take our relations further."
In 2021, Belarus-Iran trade amounted to $33.3 million (up by 34.7% over 2020). Exports totaled $14 million (up by 10.5%), imports came at $19.3 million (up by 60.3%). In January-July 2022, the trade rose to $40.1 million (up by 119% year-on-year). Exports totaled $28.3 million (up by 206.1%), imports - $11.8 million (up by 30.2%).
On 15 September the Belarusian leader held a number of bilateral meetings, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The foreign leaders expressed their support for the Belarusian bid to join the SCO as a full member.
The Belarusian president also met with SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming.