SAMARKAND, 15 September (BelTA) - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is now seen in the world as the future, as a very influential pole in a multipolar global order, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming in Samarkand on 15 September, BelTA has learned.
"Belarus began to cooperate with the SCO 12 years ago. It was not a spontaneous or accidental decision. At that time, the SCO was still a young organization and was just trying to find its place in the world. Today the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is viewed as the future, a very influential pole in a multipolar global order. That wasn't the case then. But at that time we made a decision to develop cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This is where our political, economic, and maybe military-political future lies," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
"Therefore, while working as an observer in the organization, we decided that it is time for us to become a full member of our ‘Shanghai family'. I know that you have supported our bid. We are very grateful to you for this," the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Zhang Ming for taking the time to listen to Belarus' position on further participation in the SCO. "But first of all, we appreciate your positive assessment of our role as an observer," he said.
The president also thanked the SCO secretary general that the organization has always responded to the requests of the Belarusian side and his requests. "You took part in the observation of the last presidential election. You could see Belarus with your own eyes, appreciate it. So could your representatives [election observers]. I am grateful to you for the assessments that were given during the last presidential election. This suggests that the SCO is also interested in our country," the Belarusian leader said.
For his part, Zhang Min thanked the Belarusian president for participating in the summit, noting that he is a regular guest at such forums. The secretary general also stressed the importance of the current summit in Samarkand for Belarus.
As BelTA has reported, 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.