Russia, Uzbekistan ready to work with Afghan leadership: Lavrov
SCO ministers' meeting reveals stronger ties being forged between China and Russia amid growing tensions with the West.
During today's meeting for the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which took place in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that relations between Moscow and Beijing are dynamically flourishing despite the unstable geopolitical security architecture.
"The ministers gave a positive assessment of the current state of Russian-Chinese relations, which continue to develop dynamically in the face of a difficult geopolitical situation," the ministry said in a statement.
Foreign ministers of the eight-member countries met today to plan ahead for the next annual SCO meeting that is scheduled to take place on September 15-16 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Russian FM Lavrov said that countries wishing to join the SCO as full members and observers line up in a queue amid the upcoming summit in Samarkand.
"The agenda of the summit in Samarkand appears to be very solid, rich, and it is especially symbolic that a kind of queue is lined up for the Samarkand summit from those wishing to join as full members of the SCO or join as observers and dialogue partners," Lavrov said after his meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Tashkent.
A central theme of today's meeting was a discussion on cooperating with Afghanistan.
Following talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Lavrov said, "In the context of all these discussions of ours, Afghanistan occupies a special place," adding that "we have a very close position with our Uzbek friends regarding the need to recognize the current realities in Afghanistan and work with the current leadership based on these realities."
"Last year, I participated in another conference on Afghanistan. Today we stated that these efforts, and the efforts of Russia within the framework of the so-called Moscow format, the efforts of the PRC, which regularly holds meetings of Afghanistan's neighbors — all this is complementary work, and with each such event we are taking several steps forward," the Russian Minister stressed.
The city of Tashkent has hosted SCO meetings several times over the years. This year will be the first time Uzbekistan won't be hosting an SCO meeting in its capital city, instead opting for Samarkand, which is located on the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking China to the Mediterranean.