Xi arrives in Samarkand ahead of SCO summit in Uzbekistan

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the Uzbek city of Samarkand for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev welcomed Xi in person at Samarkand airport on Wednesday evening, where the Chinese president praised the comprehensive strategic partnership of the two countries.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency on Thursday.

The Chinese president’s visit to Uzbekistan marked his first trip abroad in more than two and a half years.

On Thursday, he is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian officials have said that the meeting, which would take place on the sidelines of the summit, would be used to discuss the war in Ukraine.

China has previously voiced its support for Putin and placed blame for the war on the U.S. and NATO instead.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the summit, which is the SCO’s first in-person leaders’ summit since 2019.

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Several bilateral meetings were expected, as is the admission of Iran to the Eurasian political, trade and security bloc.

The current members of the organisation are China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Iran has so far held observer status, as have Belarus and Mongolia.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey were considered SCO partner countries. (dpa/NAN)

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