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Multiple Bilateral Meetings Filled First Day of SCO Summit

July 4—The first day of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of State Council in Astana, Kazakhstan, was largely taken up in bilateral meetings among the many heads of state and other government officials. Based on reports from the Kremlin and other sources, these meetings were substantive, including discussions of bilateral and regional development through building infrastructure projects related to energy, and connectivity involving completion of regional transportation corridors.

As an example, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks today with Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, SCO host President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh of Mongolia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Türkiye, Xi Jinping of China, and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, TASS reported. In his hour-long meeting with Erdoğan, Putin accepted the Turkish President’s invitation to visit, and the two discussed key strategic projects they are working on together, the Daily Sabah reported. They committed to maintaining closer ties and working at improving relations and increasing bilateral trade.

In addition to attending the SCO summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping was also in Kazakhstan for a state visit, as a guest of President Tokayev. They signed many agreements for cooperation in such fields as energy, trade, agriculture and minerals, culture, tourism, and economics. Xi also supported Kazakhstan’s plan to join the BRICS. Separately, Xi also met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, with whom he discussed promoting high-level Belt and Road cooperation, investment cooperation, and enhancing connectivity. Xi will make as state visit to Tajikistan after the SCO summit, as a guest of President President Emomali Rahmon.

The Russian and Chinese Presidents also had an opportunity to meet, during which Putin described their bilateral relations as going through a “golden age.” The period of their comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation is the best in their history, he said, while Xi stressed that every effort should be made to preserve the unique quality of their relationship. At a time of international turbulence and challenges, the two should stick to their original aspiration of lasting friendship and commitment to benefiting their people, CGTN reported Xi saying.

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