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23 Jun 2016

Belarus president off to Uzbekistan for Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit

MINSK, 23 June (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is on his way to Uzbekistan where a session of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will take place on 24 June. The aircraft with the Belarusian head of state on board has left the Minsk National Airport for Tashkent, BelTA has learned.

The regular session of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is expected to adopt the Tashkent declaration timed to the 15th anniversary of the organization. A number of multilateral documents will be signed as well. The documents include an antidrug strategy for 2017-2022 and an action program to fulfill the strategy, a plan of actions to be taken in 2016-2020 to implement the SCO intergovernmental agreement on crime prevention. A plan to implement the strategy on developing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization till 2025 is supposed to be adopted as well.

At present members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was founded in 2001, are Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. There are also six observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan. In July 2015 the SCO heads of state decided in favor of starting the admission procedure with regard to India and Pakistan. Iran may want to become an SCO member in the future.

Apart from that, there are six dialogue partner states: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.

The Tashkent summit will be the first Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, in which Belarus will take part in the observer capacity.

Initially efforts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were focused on suppressing acts of terrorism, separatism, and extremism in Central Asia. As the organization developed, security matters were complemented by economic affairs, including power engineering, transportation, agribusiness, and telecommunications, as well as humanitarian dimensions. The SCO member states also work together in science, technology, cultural and educational affairs, and tourism.

While in Tashkent Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is also expected to talk to foreign leaders during bilateral meetings. In particular, in his speech during the fifth Belarusian People’s Congress Alexander Lukashenko mentioned he was going to negotiate with China President Xi Jinping.

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