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MINSK, July 6. /TASS/. Belarus may become a kind of the "western corridor" of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Valentin Rybakov has told TASS.
"As a European country, we are ready to become a kind of the ‘western corridor’ of the SCO and to contribute to the organization’s activities to ensure that cooperation within the framework of the SCO becomes more comprehensive and productive," he said.
Rybakov noted that a very serious initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping was being implemented on the SCO space on establishing the Silk Road Economic Belt, which involved both the SCO members and the European countries. "Belarus, thanks to its geographic location between Russia and the European Union, may become an important element of such a belt, especially in the light of the creation of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park in our country," he said.
He added that Belarus bordered on the SCO territory and maintained "the high level of relations" with all member-countries of the organization, "up to the union like with Russia or strategic like with China." According to Rybakov, Belarus — the only fully European country in the organization — has the open border with Russia, so it is exposed to the same threats and influences as the remaining SCO space. "In addition to that, occupying a strategically important position between Europe and Asia, Belarus is able and ready to naturally complement the SCO economic cooperation using its transit, industrial and scientific potential," Rybakov said. He noted that Minsk considered the SCO an additional platform for developing bilateral dialogue between the leaders of the member-countries whose circle is gradually expanding.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have an observer status, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are the "dialogue partners." On July 9 and 10 the capital of Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan Ufa will host the SCO summit, which is expected to adopt the organization’s development program until 2025.