April 7, 2021 at 6:38 pm
Chitral Times Report
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Foreign Office today. The two Foreign Ministers had wide-ranging talks covering bilateral relations and regional and global issues. Extending a warm welcome, Foreign Minister Qureshi recalled his earlier meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov on the sidelines of SCO Council of Ministers in Moscow in September 2020. The Foreign Minister underlined that strengthening of relations with the Russian Federation was an important foreign policy priority for Pakistan and that Pakistan-Russia relations, today, were marked by enhanced mutual trust and understanding. Noting the important progress achieved in bilateral relations, the Foreign Minister agreed on the need to intensify efforts to deepen cooperation in all areas, including economy and trade, energy, counter-terrorism, security and defence, education, and people-to-people exchanges.
The Foreign Minister added that the next meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) would cover a wide agenda encompassing economic, trade and energy cooperation between the two countries and must be result-oriented. Foreign Minister Qureshi also reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to work with Russia for early commencement of the ‘Pakistan Stream’ Gas Pipeline project. Foreign Minister Qureshi congratulated Russia on developing COVID-19 vaccine and highlighted Pakistan’s plans to acquire more Sputnik-V as well as to have joint venture for production of the vaccine in Pakistan. The Foreign Minister briefed his Russian counterpart on Pakistan’s priorities relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan centered on an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
He appreciated Russia’s role in the Afghan peace process including through convening of the meeting of Extended Troika in Moscow in March 2021.The Foreign Minister dilated on the human rights situation in IIOJK and underlined Pakistan’s approach to the issues of peace and security in South Asia and peaceful resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. The Foreign Minister noted with appreciation the close cooperation between Pakistan and Russia within the United Nations and at other multilateral fora including SCO. Matters relating to Security Council reform were also discussed. There were detailed exchanges on matters relating to South Asia, West Asia, the Gulf region, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific. The two Ministers also discussed the potential of Euroasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Foreign Minister stressed that Pakistan remained committed to forge a closer, multi-dimensional relationship with Russia — marked by trust and understanding. He added that Foreign Minister Lavrov’s latest visit would help commence a new chapter in this direction.
Meanwhile Foreign Minister of Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov called on Prime Minister Imran Khan today. Pakistan-Russia bilateral relations and issues of regional and global importance were discussed. The Prime Minister fondly recalled his interaction with President Vladimir Putin during the SCO Summit in Bishkek in June 2019, where he had underscored his desire to take the bilateral relationship to a new level. The Prime Minister reiterated the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Russia as a key foreign policy priority. He expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties, including deepening cooperation in trade, energy, security and defence. The Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to expeditiously conclude the requisite legal process for the “Pakistan Stream” (North-South) Gas Pipeline project and commence the work as early as possible. Enhanced bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, industrial modernization, railways and aviation was discussed. It was agreed that the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), due to meet in Moscow later this year, would closely pursue specific proposals and projects in this context. Views were exchanged on the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister congratulated Russia on its development of Sputnik-V vaccine and underscored Pakistan’s procurement plans in this regard. In the regional context, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of a negotiated political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistan appreciated Russia’s efforts in promoting the Afghan peace process including through the hosting of the recent meeting of Extended Troika in Moscow. With reference to the situation in IIOJK, the Prime Minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on issues of peace and security in South Asia, including the need for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Views were also exchanged on situation in West Asia, the Gulf, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. The Prime Minister reiterated his invitation to President Putin to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.