Zardari in Moscow to bolster Pak-Russia ties


President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to strengthen Pakistan’s relationship with Russia on his first major foreign visit since the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces. President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday said the killing of Osama bin Laden would benefit Russian security as the country fights an Islamist insurgency along its southern flank.
“It is no secret that the well-known terrorist network al Qaeda has regularly sent and continues to send its emissaries to the territory of our state,” Medvedev told his Security Council in televised remarks, a day before talks with President Asif Ali Zardari in Moscow. “The liquidation of terrorists, even on the level of … bin Laden, has a direct relationship to the level of security on the territory of our state,” he said in his first public comments on the al Qaeda leader’s killing during a US raid in Pakistan.
But he warned that the incident that bin Laden’s death could directly affect Russia, ordering officials to tighten up security at the country’s foreign embassies. Medvedev on Thursday will host Zardari at the Kremlin where officials were also expected to sign agreements on cooperation in agriculture, aviation and energy. The Kremlin said Medvedev and Zardari would adopt a joint statement calling for broader economic and political ties and also discuss the fight against terror.
“Pakistan invites modern Russia to take advantage of its access to southern seas which will no doubt facilitate economic prosperity of the two countries,” Zardari said in a statement. The Kremlin said Russia was keen to explore and develop oil and gas in Pakistan and help the country build railroads and underground gas storage facilities. Gazprom would be keen to join a plan to build a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan, while Russia is also ready to take part in the project code-named CASA-1000 whose aim will be sending power from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Russian companies are also interested in modernising the Soviet-built Pakistan Steel plant in Karachi, the Kremlin said without providing further details. On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia believed the US was fully authorised to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.


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