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Pakistan, Russia FMs hold delegation-level talks

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Russian counterpart Surgey Lavrov are leading their respective delegations at the bilateral talks to be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

During the two-day (April 6-7) official visit, the Russian Foreign Minister will also call on Prime Minister Imran Khan and have interaction with other dignitaries.

Pakistan and Russia enjoy friendly and cooperative relations based on mutual respect, trust and understanding.

Bilateral cooperation is growing across a wide range of areas of common interest including security and defence, counter-terrorism, and the Afghan peace process.

Over the recent past, deepening collaboration in economic, trade and energy sectors has been the focus of the two governments.

The visit of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will contribute to further deepening of the multifaceted bilateral relationship and enhancing mutual understanding on regional and global issues.

Foreign Minister Qureshi, later in a tweet said the visit Foreign Minister Surgey Lavrov was in line with the commitment of Pakistan and Russia to further strengthen their bilateral ties and deepening the growing bonds of cooperation and collaboration.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of Russian Foreign Minister’s visit also released a special video showing the previous interactions between two leaderships at different forums which manifested the growing relations between Islamabad and Moscow.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry in an official statement about Surgey Lavrov’s April 6-7 visit to Pakistan said the Foreign Minister will hold talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as well as meetings with the country’s top political and military leadership.

“The parties plan to discuss the current state and prospects for the development of bilateral relations with an emphasis on cooperation in the trade, economic and counter-terrorism fields, exchange views on topical issues of the international and regional agenda,” it added.

Recalling the establishment of diplomatic relations with Pakistan on 1 May 1948, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement said, “Today Pakistan is an important foreign policy partner of our country. Fruitful interaction is maintained at the international organizations, primarily in the UN and its specialized agencies.”

“The cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad is based on the coincidence or similarity of positions on most of the problems of the world community, including issues of strategic stability and countering terrorism,” it added.

The statement further said that opportunities for joint work had significantly expanded after Pakistan’s accession to the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) as a full member in June 2017. “An intensive political dialogue is maintained, including at the high and the highest levels,” it add4ed.

The statement mentioned that President Vladimir Putin spoke with Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Heads of States (CHS) meeting in Bishkek in June 2019; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister “on the sidelines” of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019.

“Meetings of Foreign Ministers of the two countries Sergey Lavrov and Shah Mahmood Qureshi are held regularly (the previous meeting was held in September 2020 in Moscow within the framework of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers – CFM meeting).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry state, the priority task was to expand trade and economic ties. In 2020, the volume of trade amounted to a record $ 790 million, an increase by 46% was inter alia due to large supplies of Russian wheat.

Within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, specific projects of business partnership are discussed. The sixth meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission took place in Islamabad in December 2019, it added.

“Energy is a promising area of business partnership. The flagship project is the construction of the North-South gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore under the Intergovernmental Agreement signed in 2015. Negotiations are underway with a view to an early start of its practical implementation,” the statement pointed out.

“Other promising projects include the modernization of the Karachi Steel Mills built with the assistance of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the reconstruction of the energy and railway systems of Pakistan, as well as the supply of Russian civil aircraft,” it added.

Describing the situation in Afghanistan as “a common concern”, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement said, “We look forward to an early finding of a constructive solution in order to end the civil war in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan through agreements on the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of the Taliban movement.”

“We will continue to provide the necessary assistance in advancing this process, including through the Troika Plus mechanism of Russia, the United States and China with the participation of Pakistan, the Moscow Format of consultations on Afghan issues, as well as the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group,” the statement maintained.

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