–Pakistan is opposed to sanctions against any country, including Russia, especially when they were politically motivated.
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Wednesday held bilateral consultations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during which the meeting they agreed to closely coordinate in all Afghanistan-related processes for a regional solution of the conflict.
The foreign minister is on an official visit to the Russian Federation where the two foreign ministers held an in-depth discussion on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, important regional and international issues, the Middle East’s current situation and cooperation between the two countries in the United Nations (UN) and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
UN&EC/SCO Special Secretary Ms Tasnim Aslam, Pakistani Ambassador to the Russian Federation Mr Qazi M Khalilullah, Europe Additional Secretary Mr Zaheer Janjua, Russian President’s Special Representative on Afghanistan Mr Zamir Kabulov and Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ms Maria Zakharova were also present in the meeting.
The two ministers emphasized the importance of strengthening bilateral engagement and diversifying cooperation in various fields. This is evident by the continued high-level interactions between the two countries, including meetings between the prime minister of Pakistan and the Russian Federation president in Ufa in July 2015 and Astana in June 2017, as well as, prime ministers of the two countries in Sochi last November.
Both the foreign ministers expressed satisfaction at the increasing bilateral cooperation and agreed to intensify efforts to deepen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest including trade, energy, defence, education, science and technology, and people to people contacts.
The two sides agreed to build further on enhancing coordination at multilateral fora. They underscored that Pakistan’s membership of the SCO had provided additional opportunities for deepening cooperation between the two countries.
They also expressed their desire to further expand bilateral trade and agreed to work together under the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade (ICT), economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation.
Sergey Lavrov emphasized on the significance of cooperation in the field of energy, including the realization of the North-South gas pipeline project and said that Russian experts are ready to participate in the modernization of Pakistan’s energy sector.
Moreover, the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the region were also discussed. It was reiterated that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and a negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process was the only viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan.
There was also unanimity of views that unchecked proliferation of Da’esh in Afghanistan, particularly along borders of neighbouring countries was a threat to peace in the entire region.
Khawaja Asif briefed his Russian counterpart on Pakistan’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood. He underlined that Pakistan believed in resolving disputes through dialogue.
The Russian Foreign Minister appreciated Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. He conveyed his country’s continued support for enhancing Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capabilities. It was underscored by Asif that Pakistan, in principle, is opposed to sanctions against any country, including Russia, especially when they were politically motivated.
The duo agreed to continue to consult with each other on a regular basis.