Belarus recognizes potential of SCO, committed to making the organization's voice louder: FM
Published: Jul 07, 2024 09:27 PM
A view of Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan Photo: VCG

A view of Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan Photo: VCG

After Belarus officially joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), becoming the 10th member state, Belarusian Foreign Minister Maxim Ryzhenkov expressed "gratitude" for the comprehensive support provided to Belarus on the path to full membership in the organization in Beijing on Saturday.

He pointed out that in the midst of global turbulence, the unity of views among SCO participants and their ability to make future-oriented coordinated decisions are of particular value to the country. 

"In Belarus, we immediately recognized the potential of the organization and consistently moved toward becoming a full member. The SCO is not just one of the international structures for our country. It is a strategic perspective. The SCO is a new security," he said.

Ryzhenkov made the remarks during the flag-raising ceremony of the Republic of Belarus in front of the building of the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Beijing on Saturday,

Expressing his excitement, the Belarusian diplomat said that he is "confident that it will proudly fly here for many years to come. The SCO is an organization oriented toward the future." 

"We are proud that today our country is an integral part of the 'Shanghai Ten.' I am confident that together we will do everything to make the voice of our organization louder on all international agenda issues. This will be better for the peoples of the SCO 'family' countries and for the international community as a whole," he said.

Formed in 2001, the SCO is the only inter-governmental organization named after a Chinese city. It has become a key venue for China to bolster its cooperation with countries in Central Asia and the broader Eurasian landmass.

Ryzhenkov pointed out that since the organization's formation in 2001, it has "strengthened and become a unique multilateral mechanism, an influential player in the international relations system. Today, the sun rises in the East, both literally and metaphorically. Today, the heart of Eurasia beats here. Through their own example, the SCO member states give peoples and countries the opportunity to feel that there are centers of power in the world where everyone's voice is heard."

He also highlighted the significance of Belarus' membership in the SCO, emphasizing the organization's role as a strategic perspective for the country. 

The SCO has expanded from a regional organization with six members into a trans-regional organization with 10 full members, two observer countries, and 14 dialogue partners.

In his view, the SCO is a new security that is genuine, indivisible, and not directed against anyone. 

The SCO was born primarily for security reasons. Its predecessor, the "Shanghai Five," was formed to manage border security issues after the end of the Cold War. Terrorism, separatism, and extremism, known as the "three evil forces," have, for decades, hung over Central Asia, read a Xinhua News Agency report. 

Ryzhenkov pointed out that the SCO is a new economy that member states are building on the principles of partnership, mutual benefit, and sustainable development. 

"Eurasia needs its own strong transport and logistics framework. Belarus fully supports the implementation of initiatives within the SCO that connect the continent with strategic infrastructure projects," he said.

Currently, Belarus maintains robust trade relations with Russia and China, both members of the SCO, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

In the first four months of 2024, trade turnover between Belarus and Russia reached 2.9 trillion rubles (approximately $33.62 billion), according to official Russian data. China ranks as Belarus' second-largest trading partner, and Belarus is among China's fastest-growing trading partners in the Eurasian region, read the report.

He also viewed the SCO as a unique opportunity for cultural enrichment, bringing peoples closer together, and facilitating direct communication between youth organizations, and interaction in the fields of sports, tourism, science, and education.

SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming said at Saturday's event that "Belarus' accession is another important milestone in the history of the SCO. Belarus, with its rich historical heritage and unique cultural charm, has always been an important player on the international stage. Belarus' accession to the SCO will not only strengthen our organization but also give a new impetus to cooperation among member states." 

"We highly appreciate the trust and recognition of the SCO by Belarus and fully acknowledge its active contribution to peace and development in the region," he said.

He also expressed confidence that in the future, Belarus, together with other member states, will continue to promote cooperation in politics, economics, security, culture, and other areas within the SCO framework to achieve new successes. 

"Belarus' accession will enable us to better utilize the advantages of our Organization and jointly overcome challenges and threats on the regional and international agenda…

We are confidently moving forward hand in hand and creating a better future for the SCO," Zhang said.

The accession of Belarus was formalized at the 24th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO.