Statement of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko at SCO summit in Tashkent

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Dear Mr. President, dear colleagues and friends,

It is a great honor for me to take part in the summit of the heads of state of the Shanghai cooperation Organization. I would like to thank Uzbekistan President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov for the impeccable organization of the forum and a warm welcome.

Belarus is grateful to the SCO member states for providing it with the observer status last year. Belarus values your trust and determined to take an active part in all areas of work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that represent mutual interest.

Belarus’ intention can be explained by an important role that the SCO plays in addressing global and regional issues, and also by the fact that this organization unites Belarus’ close friends.

You are well aware of the peace-loving and multi-vector foreign policy of Belarus. This policy is aimed at preserving stability and peace in our region. We absolutely share the SCO’s approaches to ensuring international security.

Today, when instability is escalating and the number of regional conflicts is on the rise, the unity of states and the resolution to join efforts in addressing global issues are especially important.

I am convinced that the SCO is a crucial negotiations platform for working out the mechanisms of response to modern challenges and threats.

It is especially important to join efforts to eradicate any forms and manifestations of terrorism, extremism, organized crime, and drug trafficking, prevent emergencies and conflicts.

Economic cooperation should be one more central theme of interaction in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO has accumulated huge economic potential. Besides, the accession of such countries as India and Pakistan will enhance this potential even further.

To promote economic development it is essential to implement joint large-scale projects. Establishing a financial institution in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to finance these projects could give a serious impetus to these efforts. In the medium term, a mechanism for mutual payments in national currencies could be created on the basis of such banking institution. It would help us reduce the dependence of countries on U.S. dollars.

Cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union should make part of the economic policy of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Yet, this theme has not been outlined within the SCO.

The parties have a lot of other areas of common interest. Belarus supports the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping. “With the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park Great Stone we demonstrate readiness to become one of the key actors in this grandiose plan.

With its big industrial, scientific and innovative potential Belarus always has an opportunity to take part in mutually beneficial infrastructure projects that are being implemented or will be implemented on the SCO platform, including in the areas of transport, logistics and energy. Holding leading positions in ensuring food security, we are ready to share our practices in the sector.

Taking into account high significance of international transportation in the trade and economic cooperation Belarus is ready to become “a western gate” for the SCO member states on their way to the European continent. Our country is also fully open for cooperation in the areas of industry, science, education, tourism and humanitarian cooperation. We hope that this potential will be utilized to the maximum in the development of promising plans and projects within the SCO.

Dear colleagues,

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate 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.

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.

Thank you for attention.