Asian and Middle East leaders met in Samarkand and discussed cooperation and international issues
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions. Member countries are China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This year, among others, also leaders of Belarus, Iran, and Turkey participated to the meeting - which took place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. President of China Xi Jinping, president of Russia Vladimir Putin, president of India Narendra Modi, and president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan were present. This meeting marks another milestone towards a more intense financial, economic, and political cooperation between nations in Central Asia. Russia has closed deals with Turkey, India, China, and Mongolia to increase significantly energy export towards Asia. President Xi, during his keynote speech, outlined several priorities going forward for the SCO state members, including enhancing solidarity and cooperation, maintaining strategic independence and safeguarding regional stability, pursuing inclusiveness and shared benefits in promoting development cooperation. On the situation in Ukraine, with counteroffensives underway against Russia, some contrasting views were shared: while Putin confirmed Russia’s will to endure until reaching “liberation of Donbas”, no direct support was offered by any country - China included - and India’s president Modi further expressed concern. In his words: “I know today’s era is not of war. We discussed this issue with you on phone several times, that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue touch the entire world […] Today the biggest worry before the world, especially developing countries, is food security, fuel security, fertilisers. We must find ways to these problems and you will also have to consider” he said to Putin. The meeting concluded with leaders signing a declaration containing statements of shared effort on safeguarding global food security and energy security, addressing climate change, and maintaining a secure, stable and diversified supply chain.