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15 September 2021, 11:00

Lukashenko off to Tajikistan for CSTO, SCO summits

MINSK, 15 September (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has left for Tajikistan on a working visit. The airplane of the head of state took off from Minsk National Airport, BelTA has learned.

Tajikistan is set to host a session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and a meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on 15-17 September.

CSTO summit: to work out a unified position on Afghanistan

The agenda of the CSTO summit will highlight issues of international and regional security and their impact on the security of the CSTO member states.

One of the most important issues will be the situation in Afghanistan. On 23 August, at an emergency session of the CSTO Collective Security Council, Aleksandr Lukashenko urged to develop a common position on Afghanistan before the summit in Dushanbe. "Let's be sincere: for the time being this position is like this ‘let's wait and see what happens next and then respond accordingly'. This is wrong. Of course, we will be watching what happens next. However, we need to clearly understand that given the information and the facts that we heard today, we need to develop a common position rather than issue all kinds of calls and statements. Otherwise, it will be too late to do something to rectify the situation,” the head of state said.

The leaders of the CSTO countries are expected to adopt a declaration of the Collective Security Council and sign several documents related to peacekeeping activities, provision of troops and their armament.

In the morning Dushanbe played host to a joint meeting of the Foreign Ministers Council, the Defense Ministers Council and the Committee of the Secretaries of Security Councils of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The parties discussed the military and political situation in the region and took stock of the organization's intersession activity.

SCO summit: to open a new page in the organization's development

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021, and the meeting of the heads of state in Dushanbe is an anniversary one. Among the organization's full members are its founders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as India and Pakistan, which joined in 2017. Belarus received an observer status in the SCO in 2015. Three other countries - Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia - have the same status. The SCO also has six dialogue partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

At the summit in Tajikistan, the heads of state are expected to decide on launching the procedure for Iran to access the SCO as a full-fledged member and grant the status of a dialogue partner to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Vladimir Norov earlier said that the decisions which are to be taken at the meeting would “open a new page in the progressive development of the organization, multiply its contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world, ensure sustainable development and strengthening of cultural and humanitarian cooperation in the vast area of the SCO”.

The SCO and CSTO leaders are expected to hold a joint meeting in Dushanbe to discuss the situation in Afghanistan as well as measures to ensure security in the region. The event will be held at the initiative of the Belarusian head of state.

Joint meeting of SCO and CSTO leaders: to strengthen interaction

The instruments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of Asia's most influential organizations, should be used to address the Afghanistan issue, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at an emergency session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on 23 August. “Almost all SCO members are located around Afghanistan. Their global interests lie there, at least, those of China, Russia, India and Pakistan. It is necessary to strengthen interaction between the CSTO and the SCO by means of the summits of the two organizations due in Dushanbe on 16-17 September 2021,” the president said.

He believes that after a thorough analysis of this issue, it will be possible to hold a joint meeting to discuss the political settlement of the Afghan conflict: “If the SCO members want to discuss the issue today, it will be good. If not, we will just voice our position. And then the ball will be on their court. I think we will be able to make very serious progress here.”

“It will be impossible not to reckon with the position of the CSTO and the SCO. The position of the SCO/CSTO will even be more important than the position of the Western coalition,” the Belarusian leader is sure.

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