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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi contacted his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Saturday and reiterated Pakistan’s call for de-escalation and diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict.

In a statement, Foreign Office said that Foreign Minister Qureshi spoke on telephone with Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, and discussed bilateral ties and regional situation.

Recalling his recent visit to Russia as part of the Prime Minister’s delegation, Foreign Minister Qureshi stated that the two sides had held wide-ranging talks on key subjects on bilateral agenda and the region including Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Lavrov conveyed deepest condolences over the loss of life in the terrorist attack on a mosque in Peshawar on 4 March 2022 and stressed Russia’s condemnation of terrorism in all forms.

Foreign Minster Lavrov also conveyed that the Russian side would be following-up on the important bilateral matters discussed and that the two sides would continue to work together on promoting the shared goals of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Underlining Pakistan’s concern at the latest situation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted that Pakistan had emphasized fundamental principles of UN Charter, called for de-escalation, and underscored the need for a diplomatic solution in accordance with the relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and provisions of the UN Charter.

Qureshi also apprised the Russian Foreign Minister of his recent phone conversations with the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Hungary and with the High Representative of the European Union, in which he had shared Pakistan’s principled position and stressed the importance of finding a solution through dialogue and diplomacy.

Qureshi expressed the hope that the talks initiated between Russia and Ukraine would succeed in finding a diplomatic solution. Foreign Minister Lavrov shared Russia’s perspective on the situation, referred to the opening of the “humanitarian corridor”, and underlined readiness for the next round of talks with the Ukrainian side.

Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasized that safe and swift return of Pakistani citizens from Ukraine remained the government’s topmost priority and requested for the Russian government’s assistance and facilitation in this regard.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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