Islamabad, Pakistan: Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov reached Islamabad and was received by Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qurashi at the apron of Noor Khan Airbase on a rainy day.
Lavrov will hold talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as well as meetings with the country’s top political and military leadership. He is expected to meet Chief of Pakistan Army Gen Qamar Bajwa. Lavrov reached Pakistan after finishing his tour to India.
According to an official statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, both foreign ministers plan to discuss the current state and prospects for the development of bilateral relations with an emphasis on cooperation in the trade, economic, and counter-terrorism fields, exchange views on topical issues of the international and regional agenda.
Diplomatic relations with Pakistan were established on 1 May 1948. Today Pakistan is an important foreign policy partner of our country. Fruitful interaction is maintained at the international organizations, primarily in the UN and its specialized 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.
Opportunities for joint work have significantly expanded after Pakistan’s accession to the SCO as a full member in June 2017.
An intensive political dialogue is maintained, including at the high and the highest levels. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin spoke with the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO CHS meeting in Bishkek in June 2019; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister “on the sidelines” of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019. Meetings of Foreign Ministers of the two countries Sergey Lavrov and Shah Mahmood Qureshi are held regularly (the previous meeting was held in September 2020 in Moscow within the framework of the SCO CFM meeting).
The priority task is to expand trade and economic ties. In 2020, the volume of trade amounted to a record $ 790 million, an increase by 46% was inter alia due to large supplies of Russian wheat. Within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, specific projects of business partnership are discussed. The sixth meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission took place in Islamabad in December 2019.
Energy is a promising area of business partnership. The flagship project is the construction of the North-South gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore under the Intergovernmental Agreement signed in 2015. Negotiations are underway with a view to an early start of its practical implementation. Other promising projects include the modernization of the Karachi Steel Mills built with the assistance of the USSR, the reconstruction of the energy and railway systems of Pakistan, as well as the supply of Russian civil aircraft.
A common concern is a situation in Afghanistan. We look forward to an early finding of a constructive solution in order to end the civil war in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan through agreements on the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of the Taliban movement. We will continue to provide the necessary assistance in advancing this process, including through the Troika Plus mechanism of Russia, the United States, and China with the participation of Pakistan, the Moscow Format of consultations on Afghan issues, as well as the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
During the talks between the two Foreign Ministers, the entire gamut of Pakistan-Russia relations will be reviewed and ways discussed to further broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. The two Foreign Ministers will also exchange views on regional and international issues.
Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit is part of the growing interaction and regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the Russian Federation. Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met Foreign Minister Lavrov on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Bishkek in June 2019 and the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Moscow in September 2020.
Pakistan and Russia enjoy friendly and cooperative relations based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding. Bilateral cooperation is growing across a wide range of areas of common interest including in security and defence, counter-terrorism, and the Afghan peace process. Over the recent past, deepening collaboration in economic, trade, and energy sectors has been the focus of the two governments.
The visit of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will contribute to the further deepening of the multifaceted bilateral relationship and enhancing mutual understanding on regional and global issues.