Updated at 20:51,24-11-2020

Makey describes Belarus as “western gate“ of Shanghai Cooperation Organization

By Alyaksey Areshka, BelaPAN

Belarus' admission to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an observer de facto makes the country the grouping's "western gate" linking it with the European Union, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said in an interview with Russia's news agency Tass.

The minister also described Belarus as a "vital link in the establishment of a common economic area in Eurasia." He noted that Belarus was actively promoting closer ties between the Eurasian Economic Union and the EU.

Now that the EU has realized that the "policy of pressure" on Belarus may not bear fruit, the 28-nation bloc and the country have an opportunity to start "constructive, balanced and mutually respectful work on important joint projects that are advantageous to both individual states and the entire European region in general," according to Mr. Makey.

Belarus attaches great importance to relations with the EU because the grouping is a key trading partner, he said.

Belarus has performed faultlessly a "colossal" task of stopping drugs, weapons and illegal migrants at the EU border and made a considerable contribution to the maintenance of stability in Central and Eastern Europe, said the minister.

Mr. Makey announced that Alyaksandr Lukashenka would attend a SCO summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on June 24.

"One can say with certainty already now that the Belarusian side will not be a passive extra," he said. "We are ready to get actively involved in SCO activity in all of the organization's dimensions." Belarus will take part in projects to develop economic, scientific and humanitarian cooperation within the organization, he said.

Mr. Makey played up Belarus' experience of fighting terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and organized crime, saying that Minsk was ready to become a "reliable western link" of the SCO for the purpose of "combating present-day challenges and threats."

The SCO's efforts to fight terrorism and extremism fully meet Belarus' national interests, he added.