Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov calls on Pakistan PM Khan

Mr. Khan reiterated his invitation to President Putin to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday called on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties in diverse fields with Moscow.

Mr. Lavrov, the first Russian foreign minister to visit Pakistan since 2012, discussed bilateral relations and issues of regional and global importance during his meeting with Mr. Khan.

Prime Minister Khan reiterated the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Russia as "a key foreign policy priority" and expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties, including deepening cooperation in trade, energy, security and defence, according to the Prime Minister’s Office here.

Mr. Khan 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 his invitation to President Putin to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

He 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," Mr. Khan said.

Mr. Khan also 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 modernisation, railways and aviation was also 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.

Mr. Khan also exchanged views on the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He congratulated Russia on its development of Sputnik-V vaccine and underscored Pakistan’s procurement plans.

With reference to the situation in Kashmir, Prime Minister Khan 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, his office said.

Views were also exchanged on situations in West Asia, the Gulf, and the Asia-Pacific region, it added.

The relations between Pakistan and Russia have come a long way from the Cold War hostility to current level cooperation and there is hope to further expand it in coming years.

Mr. Lavrov arrived here from India on Tuesday on a two-day official visit with the objective to deepen cooperation in different fields.

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