PM Shehbaz expresses desire for enhanced bilateral cooperation with Russia

In Local
March 30, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Saturday that the country wants to enhance bilateral cooperation with Russia during his meeting with Moscow’s envoy to Islamabad.

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that the premier highlighted a number of areas, particularly in energy, trade and investment during his meeting with Ambassador of the Russian Federation Albert P. Khorev.

The premier stressed the need for early convening of the 9th session of the Inter-governmental Commission (IGC), due to be hosted by Russia later this year and also urged the Russian side to send a delegation to Pakistan to hold discussions with their counterparts to identify ways to enhance the existing level of trade and investment ties between the two countries.

While fondly recalling their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Samarkand in 2022, the prime minister reiterated his invitation to President Vladimir Putin to undertake an official visit to Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

The ambassador assured the premier that Moscow wanted to build stronger ties with Islamabad adding that the country was keen to enhance cooperation in areas of energy, trade, investment, education and culture.

The prime minister expressed deep condolences on the loss of precious lives in the Crocus City Hall terror attack outside Moscow last week and said Pakistan stood in solidarity with Russia at this tragic hour.

Shehbaz also thanked Russian President Putin for the congratulatory message sent to him on his re-election earlier.

Read ‘Pakistan stands with Russia’: PM condemns Moscow attack

Both countries are also actively involved in SCO.

The Russian envoy called on the prime minister a day after US President Joe Biden wrote a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying Washington will continue to stand with Pakistan to tackle the most “pressing global and regional challenges.”

This marked Biden’s first official correspondence with any Pakistani premier in years.

Breaking from tradition, President Biden departed from his predecessors’ ritual of engaging with Pakistani leaders during his tenure. Neither did he reach out to former prime minister Imran Khan after his election victory, nor did he communicate with Shehbaz upon his succession in April 2022.

Although Pakistan is no longer a priority for the US after its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, the South Asian nation remains key in terms of regional security and counter-terrorism efforts.

While the American civilian leaders have had an indifferent attitude towards Pakistan in recent years, the American military establishment still wants a working relationship with Pakistan.

In some of the recent testimonies before the US Senate committees, US CENTCOM chief Michael Kurilla stressed the importance of Pakistan and said the US must see ties with Islamabad on its own merit.

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