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Pakistan FM Qureshi, Russia's Lavrov review cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism


Pakistan-Russia-_AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday held wide-ranging talks here during which they reviewed their bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, security, including counter-terrorism and defence.

Lavrov, the first Russian foreign minister to visit Pakistan since 2012, was welcomed by Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lavrov planted a sapling in the premises of the ministry and then went inside the building for a joint photo session, followed by the delegation-level talks.

“Pleased to welcome Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the Foreign Office today for excellent meetings. Building multi-dimensional relations with Russia is a key priority for Pakistan and we believe a strong relationship contributes to regional stability and global security,” Qureshi said in a tweet.

Divulging details about his talks, Qureshi said: "We considered ideas to further promote #EconomicDiplomacy and discussed progress in the area of energy cooperation including the Pakistan-Stream Gas Pipeline project".

"We reviewed our cooperation in the field of security including counter-terrorism and defence,” he said.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister said that they agreed on the need to promote greater people-to-people contact through greater collaboration across a diversity of fields, including education.

"We will also be enhancing our cooperation within the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation," Qureshi said.

Pakistan and Russia share convergent positions on several issues on multilateral agenda including peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said.

Qureshi also raked up the Kashmir issue in his talks with the visiting Russian Foreign Minister.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister said that he shared with Lavrov the perspective on larger questions of peace and security in South Asia, and the human right situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We are confident that this visit will give further momentum to our deepening friendship and we remain committed to expanding our relations in diverse areas through further high-level contacts," Qureshi said on Twitter.

Officials said that the two foreign ministers held in-depth discussions on various topics of bilateral interest with the aim to expand the multi-faceted ties.

During the visit, the Russian foreign minister will also call on Prime Minister Imran Khan and have interaction with other dignitaries. He is also expected to meet Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Qureshi said ahead of Lavorv’s arrival that there was a lot of scope for economic cooperation. He said that Russia was playing a role in the Afghan peace process.

He later on tweeted that the Russian Foreign Minister''s visit is in line with the commitment of Islamabad and Moscow to further strengthen their bilateral ties and deepening the growing bonds of cooperation and collaboration.

Separately, the Russian Foreign Ministry, in an official statement on Lavrov’s visit to Islamabad, said that Pakistan is an important foreign policy partner of Russia and fruitful interaction is maintained at international organisations, primarily in the UN and its specialised 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,” according to the statement.

The relations 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.

Lavrov arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day official visit with the objective to deepen cooperation in different fields. The Russian foreign minister arrived in Islamabad after concluding his visit to India.

He was received by Qureshi at the airport where the two leaders held a brief chat. 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)