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Opinions & Interviews

24 Jun 2016

Lukashenko: Belarus is ready to be a ‘field player’ in SCO

Lukashenko: Belarus is ready to be a ‘field player’ in SCO

MINSK, 24 June (BelTA) – Belarus is determined to take an active part in all areas of work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that represent mutual interest, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at the summit of the heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Tashkent on 24 June, BelTA has learned.

According to the President, Belarus is grateful to the SCO member states for providing it with the observer status last year. “As an observer country in the SCO, we are not going, let me use the sport parlance, to watch the game from the substitutes’ bench. Belarus is ready to become an active ‘field player’ within the framework of the organization and make a considerable contribution to its work for the benefit of our people,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

In his words, Belarus’ intention to active participation in the work of the organization can be explained by an important role the SCO plays in addressing global and regional issues, and also by the fact that this organization unites Belarus’ close friends.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that Belarus attaches great political and economic significance to the cooperation with the Asian region. “We fully support the development of a new architecture of relations in Eurasia taking into account the interests of all the states on the continent,” the President stated.

At present the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was founded in 2001, has six member states. These 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 also seeks the SCO membership in the future.

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

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.

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