Pakistan fully supports Belarus' accession to the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation – as stated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, at a meeting with the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, in Samarkand, BelTA reports
"We fully support Belarus' bid to join the SCO. This is a really big event, and you can count on us," the Prime Minister of Pakistan said.
It is planned that the Belarusian leader will address an expanded meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State on September 16th. Aleksandr Lukashenko will voice the priorities of Belarus' co-operation in the SCO format, including taking into account the previously submitted application for the country's accession to this organisation as a full member (currently Belarus has observer status). Topical issues on the international agenda will also be in focus.
On the eve of the summit, Belarus’ First Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik told BelTA in an interview that strengthening and expanding the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation is of particular importance in the context of the sanctions confrontation that countries are experiencing on the part of the West. "The organisation unites countries aimed at developing a multipolar, equal and inclusive world order and opposing interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, the use of double standards and unlawful unilateral sanctions," he said.
Belarus shares the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation's approaches to countering protectionism and trade wars, which hinder global development and are fraught with a deep economic recession.
According to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Uzbekistan, Leonid Marinich, the SCO authority and influence are growing, and the organisation is already competing freely with other major international associations. He believes the SCO membership will open up additional advantages for Belarus to work in the markets of this organisation’s member states. "A huge market will open up for us. It seems to be open right now, but its availability will become better and easier. Therefore, it is beneficial for us. Secondly, financial and material flows will increase significantly, since the economic union between the SCO countries is very strong, and the organisation has shown this during its existence," the diplomat noted.
The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, which establishment was announced on June 15th, 2001 in Shanghai. The sphere of security, trade and economic relations acted as the foundation for countries with different political systems, traditions and values to unite. The SCO common goal was to ensure a favourable international environment based on the principles of ‘the Shanghai spirit’: mutual trust and benefit, equality, consultations, respect for cultural diversity and a desire for common development.
India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the current SCO members. Following the results of the SCO Heads of State summit in Dushanbe on September 17th, 2021, the procedure for joining the SCO as a full member of Iran was launched. Belarus currently has observer status, and it has applied for membership in the organisation. It is expected that this issue, among others, will be considered at the summit in Samarkand.
According to the regulation on admission of new members to the SCO as of June 11th, 2010, an applicant state must join the international treaties in force in the organisation (about 40), make necessary changes to its national legislation (it took about two years for India and Pakistan to do this, and Iran is now undergoing the relevant procedures).
Belarus considers the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation as an international platform for identifying specific mechanisms for developing co-operation in countering the threats of terrorism, extremism, organised crime and drug trafficking. It stands for strengthening the SCO economic dimension as the most important factor of stability in the Eurasian region. The country has been participating in the SCO since 2010 as a dialogue partner and, since 2015, as an observer, also taking an active part in all key areas of the SCO activities: political and diplomatic, trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian, as well as military co-operation.