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Russian president welcomes Belarus’s SCO membership

Astana, Jul 4 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Belarus's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Kremlin press service informed on Thursday.

“I would like to greet all of you and, of course, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, for completing all procedures so that Belarus is a SCO full-fledged member,” Putin said during his address to the SCO Summit in Astana on Thursday.

The first event of the summit was the announcement that Minsk had become the tenth member of the SCO, which already includes China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Belarus held an observer’s status in the SCO, as Afghanistan and Mongolia did.

The organization also involves 14 dialogue partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Myanmar, Cambodia, Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The SCO accounts for 25 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and nearly half of the world’s population.