SCO Plus Summit in Astana

  • 6
  • 10:24

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the SCO Plus Summit in Astana on 4 July.

Attending the meeting were not only heads of state of the SCO members, including Belarus, but also leaders of observer states, distinguished guests, and heads of international organizations. The theme of the meeting was “Strengthening multilateral dialogue - the pursuit of sustainable peace and development”.

The Belarusian head of state thanked everyone for supporting Belarus in its bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. “For us, this is a serious and well-considered step. We see that ever year the SCO is becoming a more powerful player in global politics,” he said.

“Here people listen to and hear each other, no one dictates their will, although global movers and shakers are part of the organization. I assure you, we will do everything in our power so that the weight and authority of our organization keeps increasing,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“There is a very succinct statement that accurately describes the essence of ongoing processes: “We have not seen such changes in a hundred years, and we are spearheading them together.” [The quote comes from] President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping. Indeed, we are all taking part in fundamental transformations in global politics,” the Belarusian leader stated.

According to him, these changes stem from the rise of a global multipolar system of international security and cooperation. “However, the ‘golden billion’ is not happy about it. The West has built its wealth and established its political, economic and military superiority by colonizing and mercilessly exploiting all other countries for centuries,” the head of state noted. “The Washington-London hegemon is looking at the world as its property. It views the global population not as humans, but as an instrument for achieving its prosperity. This is the bottomline of political economy. This is the main source of numerous international security challenges,” the President remarked.

“This philosophy underpins the conflict in Ukraine. We know why it is still going on. As a result, the world today is in a deep crisis,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“I strongly believe that our unity and cohesion will be the best response to challenges in global politics. To do this, we must join forces in the organization’s area of responsibility. For this, we need to create Greater Eurasia,” the Belarusian leader said. He outlined several steps in this direction.

Adopting the Eurasian Charter

The head of state suggested developing a concept for the Eurasian Charter for Diversity and Multipolarity in the 21st Century. The idea of the charter was put forward at the international conference held in Minsk in October last year.

The head of state remarked that this conference in Minsk had already become an annual event focusing on regional security. “Moreover, we see it as a kind of Eurasian alternative to the transatlantic Munich Conference,” he noted. “Invitations to attend the Minsk conference, which is due this autumn, have already been sent to top officials of your ministries of foreign affairs. I would very much like representatives of your countries to participate in discussions on the charter. We believe it should be passed at the level of heads of state.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko seized the occasion to thank President of Russia Vladimir Putin for his recent words in support of this initiative.

Aligning integration processes

The President urged to give a bigger priority to various integration processes on the Eurasian continent.

In this regard, he called to waste no time and take action fast. “Today people in the world are confused and in the dark. The UN secretary-general has just said that the world should be bracing for more conflicts. People need direction and certainty. The SCO can do this. Yet, this must be done quickly, because time is not on our side. Today’s situation is different from what we had after the Second World War and the Cold War. We are pressed for time, thus we need to act now. If we do this, we will be ahead of the curve and the entire global community will thank us,” the Belarusian leader remarked.

He highlighted active integration in the post-Soviet space within the framework of the Union State, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Other Eurasian associations are gaining momentum, too, including ASEAN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Arab League. Strategic infrastructure projects are being implemented to make the continent more interconnected, primarily China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Russia’s Northern Sea Route project. “It is necessary to find points of convergence of all these processes and reconcile the interests of all players,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Reducing dependence on the U.S. dollar

Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested stepping up practical interaction across the entire agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. He suggested starting with finances.

“As a matter of priority Belarus suggests developing a mechanism for bilateral payments using national currencies and setting up a joint financial institution of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” he stated.

The President noted that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries account for a considerable share of the world’s population and GDP. “Only our organization has two most powerful countries in its ranks – China and the Russian Federation. And we still have this awe for the U.S. dollar. Well, let’s finally take action to wean ourselves off the dollar. And you will see that those who have weaponized this currency will come to understand that things can no longer go on like this. We see this but we don’t take action. People are waiting,” the Belarusian leader noted.

Making digital technology more accessible

Another proposal concerns closer cooperation in digital technologies that are becoming part and parcel of our life. “Those digital technologies that benefit people and the economy, not the artificial intelligence that we are anxiously awaiting. Everyone should be able to benefit from technological progress, not just Western countries and transnational corporations,” the President said.

Contributing to the common cause of the SCO countries

Aleksandr Lukashenko assured that Belarus is ready to make whatever contribution it can to the common efforts of the SCO member countries in such areas as industry, trade, science, culture, and education.

The same applies to food security and agriculture, which the President specifically focused on. “People in the world are getting poorer, the hunger crisis is becoming more widespread,” he noted.

The President believes it would be a great idea to set up an AgroSCO exposition at Belarus’ largest agricultural exhibition Belagro. “Over many years of its history, this expo has earned a great reputation among the expert community. We will be glad to see all the countries of the SCO family in Minsk, as well as the presentation of the SCO Demonstration Base for Agricultural Technology Exchange and Training,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Belarus is very proud of becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And we will bolster the Shanghai spirit of the organization based on principles of mutual respect, equality, and solidarity.”

He assured that as a European country Belarus will do everything to make the Shanghai Cooperation Organization a global organization. “Allow me to assure you that Belarus will religiously stick to humane principles, which our organization advocates. Have absolutely no doubt that Minsk will occupy a worthy place among the capital cities, which are represented here. We have something to offer in concrete cooperation avenues. We have nearly ten years of observer state experience in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, stable political contacts and economic ties with all the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” the President stated.

He invited everyone to take part in cooperation and said the following phrase in Belarusian: “We will be glad to welcome you in hospitable Belarus with open hands, dear friends!”