Russia seeks Pakistan’s help against terror


ISLAMABAD – Russia on Monday sought Pakistan’s help in tracking down anti-Moscow militants from the Central Asian states, who have taken refuge in the country’s Tribal Areas.
The Foreign Ministry officials from Pakistan and Russia held crucial talks on ways to increase cooperation in counter-terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation during the sixth meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic Stability.
The Pakistan delegation was headed by Additional Foreign Secretary Munawar Saeed Bhatti. Sergey A Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister, led the Russian delegation.
“The two sides reviewed developments relating to international and regional security, including arms control, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Both sides also discussed cooperation in the areas of science and technology and energy security,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said.
“The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to deepen their relationship and take pragmatic steps towards promoting a comprehensive partnership between Pakistan and Russia,” he said.
Ryabkov also called on Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Malik Amad Khan and exchanged views with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.
Basit said, “Both sides agreed to convene the next meeting of the group in Moscow at mutually convenient dates.”
Another official in the Foreign Office said the main issues that were deliberated upon at length during the talks were that of nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism efforts as well as regional and global peace. He said the Russian delegation told the Pakistani side that they were concerned over threat of extremism and drug trafficking emanating from the Tribal Areas.
He said the Russian officials were of the view that Pakistan and Russia could cooperate in tracking down the militants from Central Asian states reportedly living in the Pakistani tribal region. The official said both sides also held extensive dialogue on non-proliferation while discussing ways and means to tighten command and control of nuclear weapons.