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International

America Or Russia, Who is a Friend In-deeds; Coming Closer: Pak-Russia FMs Joint Press Conference

Pak Russian Joint Press Conference in Islamabad April 07-2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan is in regular contact with Russian President Valdemar Putin which is an indication of good relations and Russia is willing to sell military hardware to Pakistan apart from investing in its various ventures, says the Russian Foreign Minister in a press Conference with his counterpart in Islamabad.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a positive mood in Islamabad’s pleasant weather during the press conference also said that the mutual trade has grown by 40% and Lahore Karachi Gas Pipeline is also discussed in talks between the both nations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also appreciated the Pakistan’s role in the stability of the region and indicated that Pakistan’s anti-terror training is useful for entire region. Pakistan & Russia held various military exercises and will keep on holding such mutual exercises.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has appreciated the role of Pakistan in the peace process of Afghanistan. He said that Russia expects that the meeting of the extended ‘Troika’ on March 18, 2021 will give a necessary impetus to the Intra-Afghan negotiation and active role of Pakistan in the preparation of this event is appreciable.

In an interview he said that recently, another round of consultations took place in Moscow as part of the extended “Troika” on Afghanistan, which will likely to be followed by a session of talks in Doha. What are the prospects for an intra-Afghan dialogue given that the government of President Ashraf Ghani avoids such negotiations? How will peace and security in South Asia be affected by India’s unilateral actions in Kashmir, its active participation in the “Quad” (USA-India-Japan-Australia) and its dispute over the border areas with China?

We expect that the meeting of the extended “Troika” of March 18, 2021 will give a necessary impetus to the intra-Afghan negotiations. We note the active role of the Pakistani side in the preparation of this event. Moscow also hosted separate meetings between the Afghan delegation (headed by the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah) and representatives of the Taliban. We consider it important that both sides speak in favour of intensifying the intra-Afghan negotiation process.

As for New Delhi’s participation in the “Quad”, we proceed from the fact that India as a responsible world power determines its foreign policy priorities by itself. At the same time we are convinced that disagreements between states in any region of the world including, of course, South Asia, should be resolved in a peaceful, civilized manner based on international law. Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is ready to assist this in every possible way.

Russia is interested in building up cooperation with the Pakistani, Indian and other partners in Eurasia. We have common interests, above all, ensuring security and improving the quality of life of the peoples of our countries. A unifying agenda is being promoted by the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to develop Greater Eurasian Partnership. Participation in it is open to all states of the continent, including the members of the EAEU, SCO, ASEAN, as well as, in case there is such interest, the European Union. Systematic implementation of the initiative will not only strengthen positive connectivity and improve the competitiveness of all participants but will also be a solid foundation in building a common continental space of peace and stability, he said.

In the field of practical cooperation we also have a lot to be proud of. The past year saw a record volume of bilateral trade: it grew by 46% and reached $790 million. We are making necessary efforts to start the construction of the North-South gas pipeline – the flagship project in the energy sector. We hope that all remaining technical issues will be agreed upon in the very near future. Russian companies are ready to participate in the modernization of the energy sector and the railroad system of Pakistan. said Mr Lavrov.

Background:

Following a 10-year occupation and thousands of soldiers who died in Afghanistan, the Soviets negotiated their exit from Afghanistan in February, 1989. The exit came after so-called proximity talks between Afghanistan’s communist government and the US-backed mujahedeen, many of whom are now in the Taliban, while others are warlords linked to the Kabul government.

Three years later the pro-Moscow government led by President Najibullah fell to the mujahedeen. Lavrov’s visit to Pakistan is the first by a Russian foreign minister in nine years. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a video statement Tuesday that the visit is indicative of a closer relationship between the two countries.

The Russian ministry statement said the visit will also focus on bilateral trade, which last year was nearly $800 million, a lot of that in Russian wheat. Russia’s top diplomat arrived from India. While in Pakistan, Lavrov will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. “Pakistan and Russia are working together in the Afghan peace process,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in the video statement.

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