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  • Russia vows to help Pakistan on economic, vaccine, and energy fronts

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi File Photo Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reaffirmed Moscow’s commitment to promoting bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in diverse fields, including economy, trade, coronavirus vaccine, and defence.

    The Russian official, who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan, expressed the resolve during delegation-level talks with Pakistan in Islamabad on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the Pakistani side.

    FM Qureshi, in his opening remarks, noted that Islamabad is extending facilities, including that of e-visa to foreign investors.

    The foreign minister also said that Pakistan has shifted its priorities from geo-politics to geo-economics.

    Both sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission at the earliest for the promotion of economic relations.

    FM Qureshi also briefed his Russian counterpart about the situation in Indian held Kashmir and the regional security situation.

    He said Pakistan desires peace in the region and resolution of all outstanding disputes, including that of Jammu and Kashmir, through peaceful means.

    During his meeting with the Russian diplomat, Prime Minister Imran Khan 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.

    The prime minister fondly recalled his interaction with President Vladimir Putin during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek in June 2019, where he had underscored his desire to take the bilateral relationship to a new level.

    He reiterated the importance of Pakistan attached to its relations with Russia as a key foreign policy priority.

    The prime minister expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties, including deepening cooperation in trade, energy, security and defence.

    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 that context.

    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 Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (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 the 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.

    PM Imran Khan and the foreign dignitary also exchanged on the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries.

    The prime minister congratulated Russia on its development of Sputnik-V vaccine and underscored Pakistan’s procurement plans in that regard.

    On the other hand, Russia assured its full support to Pakistan in the supply of the vaccine.

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