SCO summit in Samarkand

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about the country's priorities in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as he addressed the SCO summit in Samarkand on 16 September.

"The priorities of Belarus in the SCO remain unchanged: effective cooperation with partners to strengthen regional security, intensive development of economic cooperation, and expansion of humanitarian ties," he said.

Separately, Aleksandr Lukashenko identified a number of areas of cooperation.

The agenda includes the coordination of joint actions and the development of a collective response to new challenges and threats in the economy. "We stand for the development of connectivity, the creation of combined green corridors and further introduction of an integrated traffic management system using digital technologies," the Belarusian leader said.

The President expressed his conviction that time is favorable for the already running logistics and infrastructure projects linking Europe with Asia, including the New Eurasian Land Bridge initiative.

Over its 20-year history, the organization has done a lot to create favorable conditions for the development of trade and investment. "Belarus sees the huge potential of the SCO in terms of stimulating trade and economic cooperation," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

According to him, the most popular areas of such cooperation are industrial and technological cooperation; digital transformation and artificial intelligence; green economy and climate adaptation; removal of unjustified trade barriers.

"This will ensure the alignment of national strategies and long-term plans for stable and accelerated development," the President said.

"Belarus is interested in cooperation in the field of peaceful atom and in the use of various cost-effective and environmentally friendly technologies," the head of state added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko urged to take a fresh look at the state of cooperation in the banking and financial sectors.

"The illegitimate sanctions, disconnection from international payment systems and other illegitimate restrictions necessitate aligning payment systems, increasing the share of national currencies in trade and creating our own financial mechanisms within the SCO. This approach will provide not only freedom of choice, but also freedom of action," the head of state said.

Belarus is traditionally strong in matters of food security. In a number of areas the Belarusian agricultural industry has achieved world-class results, and the quality of domestic products is known in all countries of the organization and beyond. "We are ready to actively pitch in the joint work to ensure the food security of our family, the SCO family, including cooperation in smart agriculture, agricultural innovations, precision farming technologies and resource-saving technologies," the head of state said.

Minsk also stands for the expansion of international cooperation and the development of cooperation between the SCO and other regional organizations such as the CSTO, the CIS, and the EAEU.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that ultimately this could create a foundation for further strengthening of the Eurasian partnership based on the concept of "integration of integrations".

Belarus attaches great importance to the humanitarian dimension of the SCO. A special role is attached to the cooperation in the development of traditional and innovative medicine, including telemedicine, the production of medicines and medical devices, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted at the summit.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also touched on sport: "The Russian President has very clearly spoken on this topic. Sport is designed to unite countries and peoples. Now, alas, it has been massively politicized by the West."

In order to increase the authority of the member states and the competitiveness of athletes in the international arena, the Belarusian side suggests considering the possibility of holding international competitions in summer Olympic sports in 2024 and in winter sports in 2026 within the framework of the SCO.

Belarus is ready to cooperate constructively on countering terrorism, separatism, extremism, illicit trafficking in drugs, weapons, nuclear and radioactive materials, organized crime and illegal migration, the President said.

"I absolutely support the opinion expressed here by Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the counteraction of interference of certain countries in the internal affairs of states and combating color revolutions," the head of state said.

He also expressed support for the idea to set up a SCO universal center for threats and challenges to security at the Regional Anti-Terrorist Center in Tashkent.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the interaction and rapprochement of Belarus with the SCO is inextricably linked with the formation of the architecture of security and cooperation of the entire Eurasian continent. "Thanks to its political influence, economic power and internal strength, our organization is quite ready to contribute more actively and persistently towards building international policy on the principles of indivisible security and diversity of ways of progressive development," he said.