PM’s Russia visit reports are ‘speculative’: FO

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From L: Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan pose for a photo prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. (Photo by Vyacheslav OSELEDKO / AFP)

–Russia’s FO says no formal invitation has been extended to Pakistani prime minister

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Tuesday said that reports regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s participation in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Russia on President Vladimir Putin’s invitation are “speculative”.

Taking to Twitter, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said: “Pakistan and Russia remain in contact about engagement at the highest level.”

“Any announcement in this regard would be made formally at [the] appropriate time,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Office issued a statement, clarifying that no formal invitation was extended to Imran for the EFF moot.

The clarification was given after Pakistan’s local media energetically claimed that an invitation had been extended to PM Imran Khan.

The invitation was reported to have been conveyed by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself when the two leaders met at the Shanghai Cooperation Summit in Bishkek last month.

The Eastern Economic Forum will be held in the Russian port city of Vladivostik from September 4-6 his year.

The forum meeting has been taking place since 2015 to invite investment for Russia’s eastern region.”We drew attention to the publications in a number of South Asian media that the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan was invited to the events of the Eastern Economic Forum (WEF-5) in Vladivostok (September 4-6, this year) as the guest of honour”, the statement by Russia’s foreign office said.

Media reports had emerged claiming that Prime Minister Imran would join the EEF meeting in Russia in September on the invitation of President Putin.

The forum is scheduled to be held from Sept. 4 to 6 in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

The Russian president had extended the invitation to Prime Minister Imran during their conversation at the Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State (CHS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek.

During their meeting, the Russian leader had expressed his desire to have good relations with Pakistan. President Vladimir Putin and PM Imran Khan were also seen seated next to each other during the summit. To which the Premier replied that his country too wanted to promote and expand ties with Russia.