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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Russia as a key foreign policy priority during a meeting with Foreign Minister of Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov who called on him on Wednesday, said a press release.

Pakistan-Russia bilateral relations and issues of regional and global importance were discussed during the meeting.

The prime minister fondly recalled his interaction with President Vladimir Putin during the SCO Summit in Bishkek in June 2019, where he had underscored his desire to take the bilateral relationship to a new level.

The prime minister reiterated the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Russia as a key foreign policy priority.

He expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties, including deepening cooperation in trade, energy, security and defence.

The prime minister 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 modernization, railways and aviation was 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.

Views were exchanged on the health and economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prime minister congratulated Russia on its development of Sputnik-V vaccine and underscored Pakistan’s procurement plans in this regard.

In the regional context, the prime minister 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.

With reference to the situation in the IIOJK, the prime minister 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.

Views were also exchanged on situation in West Asia, the Gulf, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region.

The prime minister reiterated his invitation to President Putin to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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