FM QURESHI HOLDS DELEGATION-LEVEL TALKS WITH RUSSIAN COUNTERPART AT FOREIGN OFFICE
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday for delegation-level talks on a number of important issues from enhancing bilateral cooperation to the Afghan peace process.
"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 statement after his meeting with Lavrov.
FM Lavrov, who is in Islamabad on a two-day visit – the first by a Russian foreign minister since 2012 – will also hold meetings with the country’s top political and military leadership, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
He also planted a tree at the FO lawn as part of his visit on Wednesday.
FM Qureshi said in a statement on Twitter that avenues for furthering economic diplomacy were discussed with his Russian counterpart, including progress in sectors of energy cooperation such as the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project.
During the talks, detailed discussions were held on the promotion of economic, trade and defence cooperation.
"We are providing many facilities for foreign investors to invest in Pakistan, including e-visa," said Qureshi. Pakistan and Russia also agreed to hold the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission on promotion of economic cooperation.
"We reviewed our cooperation in the field of security including counter-terrorism and defence."
The foreign minister said both he and FM Lavrov had "agreed on the need to promote greater people-to-people contact through greater collaboration across a diversity of fields, including education". He cited the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as an avenue through which cooperation could be enhanced.
Qureshi said Pakistan and Russia shared "convergent positions" on several issues such as the Afghan peace process. He highlighted Pakistan's role in the peace process, adding that Pakistan had been making sincere efforts to establish peace in the region and in Afghanistan.
He also praised Russia's efforts in the peace process, citing the trilateral meeting held in Moscow last month.
Qureshi said FM Lavrov had been apprised of the "worsening human rights situation" in Indian-occupied Kashmir. "Pakistan wants peace in the region and supports the peaceful resolution of all disputes including Kashmir issue."
The Russian foreign minister thanked FM Qureshi for the warm welcome and reiterated his commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including the promotion of bilateral economic, trade and defence cooperation.
"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."