Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko focused on security issues and the need to strengthen the economic dimension in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as he spoke at the SCO summit in Astana on 9 June.
The Belarusian head of state remarked that over the short period of time that has passed since Belarus joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an observer, the country has come to fully realize that the choice was right. “As an observer, Belarus closely follows the processes that are unfolding in the SCO today,” he said.
According to the president, the SCO is growing into one of the most influential international organizations in a rapid and progressive way. “Against the backdrop of escalating regional conflicts, the process of rapprochement of the countries that account for more than a half of the global population is very important,” the Belarusian leader said.
In this context, Alexander Lukashenko drew attention to the recent warning made by Russia President Vladimir Putin regarding a hypothetical clash between the USA and Russia. When answering a journalist’s question, the Russian leader said that no one would survive such a conflict. “This is indeed so. The SCO plays a special role today, because if all its member states show their will, no one will be able to destabilize the situation in the world. The SCO has a great potential, and we should bear this in mind. This is the greatest value that we have today. This is the greatest value which has been created today,” the head of state stressed.
“Solidarity and unity are the key factors in the fight against modern challenges and threats, including terrorism, extremism, organized crime,” the Belarusian president stressed.
In his words, the increase in the number of countries supporting the Shanghai spirit of equal mutually beneficial and peaceful co-existence of nations is a testimony to the growing authority of the SCO, including its economic dimension. Two powerful states, India and Pakistan, have become its full-fledged members. This is not only a crucial result of the summit, but also a courageous and responsible step of the organization,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “It is an open secret that there are certain problems in the relations between these great and powerful states. And the fact that you have accepted them in the SCO today means that you are responsible people. It means that you have decided to take part in the resolution of these issues. I am convinced that, as the members of the SCO, India and Pakistan will not just get closer to the resolution of certain minor problems, but will solve them.”
Alexander Lukashenko used the opportunity to congratulate India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the accession to the SCO.
The president assured that being on the ‘western frontier’ of the SCO, Belarus can make a real contribution, as a donor of regional stability, to the fulfillment of the goals of the organization taking into account the importance of universal and ultimate security.
“I believe that the Belarusian initiative on the establishment of the new comprehensive dialogue between the East and the West similar to the Helsinki Process remains important, in the context of the efforts of the ‘Shanghai family’. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization plays a big role in the resolution of all issues on the global development agenda. Having the negative experience of separation and wars, our country also serves as a positive example of the peaceful co-existence of cultures and religions,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.
The Belarusian head of state said that the growing social instability in certain countries and regions is closely connected with the level of their development. “This is the reason for instability. Frankly speaking, today Europe is suffering from the inflow of refugees. Speaking frankly, if Europe had not distanced itself and had not destabilized the situation in that region, it would not have faced this problem. The statement of Xi Jinping that China will help promote the development of states not only in the SCO but also along the perimeter of the organization is very important from the point of view of the resolution of this grave problem with illegal migration which leads to global terrorism. I am convinced that the strengthening of the economic dimension of the SCO will help address this complicated issue,” the president said.
He suggested thinking about the development of concrete projects (economic, investment, logistic, humanitarian ones), including with the active involvement of observer states.
“We support the initiative concerning the need to ensure food security on the continent. The problem is aggravating. As a large manufacturer of foodstuffs, Belarus consistently advocates for the elimination of artificial barriers in this field,” the head of state remarked.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, it is symbolic that the summit in Astana takes place simultaneously with the opening of the international specialized EXPO 2017 dedicated to the energy of the future. “This global exposition of achievements will help expand the economic cooperation of the SCO members and their partners,” he is convinced.
The president said that Belarus prioritizes such issues as the elimination of barriers impeding the movement of goods, services, capitals, and workforce in Eurasia. “Once the problem is solved, it will drop off the global agenda,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“In fact, today’s meeting continues the important dialogue we had during the Belt and Road forum in Beijing. This is one of the best examples to follow when developing our organization,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “No doubt, this a very strong impetus for the development of the SCO, Eurasia, and the entire world. The forum has demonstrated the interest of the majority of countries in this unprecedentedly large project.”
“We are ready to strengthen the role of Belarus as a link between Europe and Asia and encourage our partners to use this potential in full,” the Belarusian leader remarked.