Concert of Asian powers in Samarkand. Xi may meet with Putin

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The summit will be held on September 15-16 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It will be attended, among others, by the leaders of China, Russia, India, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the countries of Central Asia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an agreement for security and development in the region, established in 2001. The agenda of the summit is unknown, but it will be an extremely important meeting of the most important Asian countries, many of them critical of the US. The presence was announced, among others Presidents Xi Jinping, Putin, Erdogan, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. In total, 14 countries will take part in the meeting (according to Chinese and Russian sources). Among them, members of the SZoW: Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, Belarus and Mongolia will take part as observer members (Afghanistan still has this status). In addition, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia as “dialogue partners” of the organization. Nepal, Cambodia and Sri Lanka also enjoy this status. Xi may officially meet Putin at the summit – for the first time since February, when they spoke in person at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics, but this information has not been confirmed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For Xi Jinping, the visit to Samarkand will be the first foreign visit in 2.5 years, when he visited Burma before the pandemic. It is emphasized that the first foreign visit after such a long time, precisely to Central Asia, is to show the importance of the region’s role for China in the context of the New Silk Road. It is likely that the Chinese leader will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, although this is also not confirmed. Countries are normalizing relations after the withdrawal of both sides’ armies from disputed frontiers in the Gogra-Hot Springs region of the Himalayas. Modi and Xi met in person for the last time in November 2019 at the BRICS Summit in Brazil. On the other hand, Turkish sources confirm that an official meeting between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Putin will take place. One of the key points on the agenda of the Samarkand summit will be the expansion of membership in the organization. Iran is to sign an agreement on joining it, and the process of admitting Belarus to the SCO is also to begin there. Talks have also ended – as Russia informs – about granting Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia the status of dialogue partners, and agreements with these countries are now ready to be signed. Agreements on Bahrain, Maldives and other countries are being negotiated. Chinese analysts emphasize that the wider participation of Middle East countries in the SCO may mean an expansion of cooperation in the field of energy and supply chains, as well as in the field of financial cooperation and the independence of the region in this area. According to Indian sources, the topics of the meeting may include the geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine, as well as the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. It is possible that the topic of the talks may also be the escalating Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. Reuters, Tass, GlobalTimes.cn, tehrantimes.com, indianexpress.com

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