ASTANA, 13 October (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko held bilateral talks with Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif and Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on the sidelines of the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures (CICA) in Asia, BelTA has learned.
The meeting of Aleksandr Lukashenko with Recep Tayyip Erdogan lasted for about an hour. It was also attended by ministers of foreign affairs and other officials of the two countries.
The leaders of the two countries did not make protocol statements to the press and went straight to the negotiations. There were too many topics of high importance to discuss.
Asia should seize the moment and take the lead, Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
“Thanks a lot for the invitation. I really feel and I believe that, as I have said today, the time for Asia is coming. People in Asia, in the East are very prudent, cautious, shrewd. With such an attitude Asia will not miss on emerging opportunities. Everyone is now looking for someone to rely on. And it so happened that the SCO and your organization [CICA] that was created here on the initiative of Kazakhstan, are something to reckon with. Your decision to develop this organization, to turn it into a global one, is absolutely right. Therefore, it is necessary to more actively assert oneself in the international arena and take the lead,” the president of Belarus said.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted that he was glad to see Aleksandr Lukashenko, especially in Astana, and thanked him for his contribution to the work of the summit.
According to the Kazakhstan president, Asia is making very good progress, and this region has a great future in terms of economy. “Of course, China is the locomotive in Asia. But there are also other states,” he said. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev mentioned Vietnam, which was also represented at the summit. It is a country with a large and rapidly growing economy.
Aleksandr Lukashenko agreed with this thesis, but pointed to the significant role of Kazakhstan in Asia. “You have said that there are very serious big states in this organization. But I don't think that Kazakhstan is a small country and that it is not able to contribute to the efforts to make Asian organizations dominate the world today. And you have done a lot for this,” he said.
“The numbers speak for themselves. Our GDP will approach $190 billion this year. This is more than the economies of all of Central Asia. I am not saying it to brag. This is a mere fact,” the Kazakhstan leader agreed.
Speaking about bilateral relations with Belarus, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev assured that he would do everything possible to make sure that bilateral cooperation remains effective and versatile.
“We are very enthusiastic about it. I constantly tell government members that everything should be done to step up cooperation, be it trade, investment, joint projects. In principle, there is no reason to sound the alarm, nothing terrible is happening. We just need to make the most of available opportunities. You know better about them, because you have been familiar with the matter for a long time,” the president of Kazakhstan said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also met with Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif.
The two leaders had previously met during the SCO summit in Samarkand about a month ago. Yet, there was a need to compare notes again regarding cooperation in general and to discuss specific issues of bilateral cooperation, and a schedule of visits and contacts.