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Opinions & Interviews

24 Jun 2016

Makei: Belarus may apply for SCO membership in the future

Makei: Belarus may apply for SCO membership in the future

MINSK, 24 June (BelTA) - Belarus may apply for membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the future, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei told BelTA when asked whether Belarus to become a full member of the SCO in the future.

“Our Uzbek colleagues already asked this question today. This issue is not on today’s agenda. But I do not rule out such a prospect. We will watch how the organization will be developing, have a look at the benefits that we will get from our participation in the SCO as an observer country and will take a relevant decision,” the minister noted.

Vladimir Makei stressed that for Belarus the SCO is of particular interest, especially in the light of its forthcoming enlargement through the accession of such large countries as India and Pakistan. “Iran's accession to the organization is not far off. Thus the organization will cover huge territories and markets with 45% of the world's population. So for us it is a tremendous opportunity to expand economic cooperation. This is what our President said in his speech,” the minister noted.

According to him, Belarus, in fact, has close and friendly bilateral relations with all the countries participating in the SCO, which is a good precondition for interaction in this multilateral format. The SCO summit discussed, in particular, the infrastructure projects that are being implemented or are in the pipeline in the region and individual countries. This topic was the subject of discussion during the bilateral meetings between the Belarusian leader and the Chinese President and the Prime Minister of India.

“We are interested in cooperation between different integration groups, the Eurasian Economic Union and the SCO, because the basis for interaction is similar. It is very important for Belarus to participate in various integration groups,” Vladimir Makei said.

In his words, the theme of economic cooperation was raised in the speeches of almost all the heads of state. This is highly important, given the ongoing crisis in the global economy. The SCO is about cooperation in security as well. This is increasingly important given the growing terrorist threats in the region. These problems are highlighted in the SCO development strategy through 2025. The heads of state also supported the antidrug strategy for 2017-2022, adopted a number of measures to combat cross-border crimes. “These are the areas where we can make our contribution as, according to the President, we are the ‘western gate’ for the organization,” the minister said.

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