Russia: Putin, Pakistan’s Khan discuss bilateral, regional issues in Moscow
By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA): Russian President Vladimir Putin met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Moscow on Thursday amid high tensions between Moscow and Kyiv.
A brief statement by the Kremlin said the two leaders discussed “the main aspects of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on current regional topics, including developments in South Asia.”
Earlier in the day, Khan, who is in the Russian capital on a two-day visit, attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall.
The meeting came hours after Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine, drawing international condemnation and vows of tougher sanctions on Moscow.
A statement issued by Pakistan’s Prime Minister House said Khan “regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine and said that Pakistan had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister statement said that Imran stressed that “conflict was not in anyone’s interest, and that the developing countries were always hit the hardest, economically, in case of conflict. He underlined Pakistan’s belief that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.”
The statement said that the two leaders discussed cooperation in prospective energy-related projects. Imran reaffirmed the importance of the Pakistan-Stream Gas Pipeline as a flagship economic project between Pakistan and Russia. He underscored Pakistan’s commitment to forge a long-term, multidimensional relationship with Russia.
In the regional context, Imran underlined the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis and preventing potential economic meltdown in Afghanistan. He reiterated that Pakistan would continue to work with the international community for a stable, peaceful and connected Afghanistan.
In this regard, the prime minister underscored the ongoing cooperation and coordination between Pakistan and Russia at various international and regional fora, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
On the situation in South Asia, the prime minister highlighted the serious human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the dispute.
Shahbaz Gill, Khan’s advisor on political communication, said the meeting lasted for nearly three hours.
Later, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak along with his delegation also met with Pakistan’s prime minister.
The two sides discussed economic relations, with a special focus on cooperation in the field of energy, according to Pakistan Prime Minister’s House.
The historic bilateral visit, first by a Pakistani prime minister in 23 years, is part of efforts to bury their cold-war rivalry and enter into a new era of cooperation.
Additional report by local media
[Photo: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meet at Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia on February 24, 2022. Photograph by Kremlin Press Office/AA]
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