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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers moot in the Indian city of Goa on Thursday, the Foreign Office (FO) said.

The two foreign ministers discussed bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest and assured each other of working closely to further deepen cooperation between their countries in the areas of food security, energy and people-to-people contact.

“The SCO opens new vistas of cooperation and coordination with Russia,” the FO statement said.

Earlier, FM Bilawal landed in India to lead Pakistan’s delegation at the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) being held on May 4-5 in Goa.

He was received by high-ranking officials in India including the deputy high commissioner of Pakistan in India. He is expected to deliver a speech on Friday.

In a video posted on his Twitter account, he confirmed that he arrived in India.

Breaking down the itinerary for Thursday, he said “I am scheduled to meet Russian and Uzbek foreign ministers. Then there will be a dinner of all foreign ministers and I will give a few interviews after that.”

In a tweet prior to his flight, the FM said that his visit is a message of how much Pakistan gives importance to the SCO.

“I am looking forward to engaging bilaterally with those countries who are part of this organization,” he said.

The foreign minister is attending the SCO CFM meeting at the invitation of the current Chair of SCO CFM, Dr S Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of the Republic of India.

In January, India extended an invitation to the FM and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial for the meeting. It had also extended invitations to all member states, including China for the upcoming foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa.

“Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO Charter and processes and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities,” Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement earlier.

The FM will also be holding sideline meetings with foreign ministers from other SCO states, including with China, Russia, and others from the Central Asian States.

However, sources said there was no bilateral meeting scheduled between Bilawal and his Indian counterpart Jaishankar.

‘Pakistan all for win-win understandings’

In a tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated that “Pakistan’s decision to attend SCO Council of Foreign Minister’s meeting in India reflects our commitment to the SCO charter and multilateralism.”

“We are committed to playing our part to advance our shared values of peace & stability in the region. We are all for win win understandings based on connectivity, trade and mutually advantageous cooperation,” he said.

On Wednesday, the FM took the political leadership into confidence ahead of his visit in telephone calls with various leaders of different political parties including Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj ul Haq, Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Khalid Magsi, National Party (NP) leader Tahir Bizenjo and others to take them into confidence about his India’s visit which is being held at the context of SCO.

Last week, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch dismissed the criticism at Bilawal’s decision to attend the SCO moot in Goa despite negative gestures from the Indian authorities.

“In our announcement of the visit of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Goa, we made it very clear that this visit is taking place in the context of a mandatory meeting of the SCO. Any other noise that accompanies the visit of the Foreign Minister must be ignored, because that’s just noise and has no bearing on the SCO and its proceedings,” she said.

Bilawal to attend SCO meet in India: FO

She said “this is not a bilateral visit of the foreign minister of Pakistan to India. This visit is taking place because Pakistan is an active member of SCO and the foreign minister has to represent Pakistan in the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting,” she stated in response to some Kashmiri leaders who have also opposed the visit at this time.

“We have every confidence that our Kashmiri brothers and sisters would understand the reason why this visit is taking place. Any activities of [the] foreign minister during his visit to Goa will be in the context of SCO,” she further explained.

Comments

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Naseem May 04, 2023 11:43am
Waderas are known for selling their country!
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Arshad May 04, 2023 12:18pm
Another PAID Vacation.......
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Tulukan Mairandi May 04, 2023 12:26pm
Hope he did not forget to take the national begging bowl. Modi may have some sympathy of the starving destitute Pakistanis.
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Parvez May 04, 2023 01:28pm
A boy doing a job he is neither capable of nor trained to do.
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P.C (Non Overseas Pakistani) May 04, 2023 03:52pm
Baby boy minister doing big boy things. Bravo!
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AmirSh May 04, 2023 04:52pm
We have BBZ. Thanks to big boys!!!
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TimeToMovveOn May 04, 2023 06:04pm
As long as India is concerned, it just ignores Pakistan and pakstan does not matter in any place in the world. India has roubut trade and relations with all neighbours and that is enough. The world also treats Pakistan the same way, left to fend for it self, and does not care as long as Pakistan does not host another global terrorists like OBL.
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Anonymous May 04, 2023 06:56pm
@TimeToMovveOn, Yes these terrorism activities are also sponsored by India just like you said and we are paying the price for it. We have Kulbushan for it for your evidence
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TimeToMovveOn May 04, 2023 08:34pm
@Anonymous , You've got one spy in jail and he is doing a fantastic job all these years.
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bonce richard May 05, 2023 01:06am
@Naseem, Punjabi Waderas will ruin our country for money.
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bonce richard May 05, 2023 01:07am
@Arshad, Nothing to have happened no one gives a single penny to us.
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Mushraf Khan May 05, 2023 01:13am
@time to move on.......the captions says it all......its time to move on from India centric decisions.......we have lot to develop and opportunities to grasp. India for us doesn't matter anymore. We know what we need to do to grow, you keep your comments to yourself. When Bilawal represents the country he has all the support from common man. That's for anyother person too who does best for the country
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