(2018-02-21) Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who is on an official visit to the Russian Federation, held bilateral consultations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today. They held in-depth discussion on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, important regional and international issues, situation in the Middle East and cooperation between the two countries in the UN and SCO.
Special Secretary (UN&EC/SCO) Ms. Tasnim Aslam, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Russian Federation Mr. Qazi M. Khalilullah, Additional Secretary (Europe) Mr. Zaheer Janjua, Special Representative of the Russian President on Afghanistan Mr. Zamir Kabulov and Spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 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 President of the Russian Federation in Ufa in July 2015 and Astana in June 2017, and Prime Ministers of the two countries in Sochi last November. The two Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction at the increasing bilateral cooperation and agreed to further intensify efforts to deepen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, including trade, energy, defence, education, science & technology and people to people contacts.
The two sides agreed to further build 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.
The two Foreign Ministers expressed desire to further expand bilateral trade and agreed to work together under the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation.
Foreign Minister Lavrov emphasized the significance of cooperation in the field of energy, including realization of the North-South gas pipeline project. Russian experts are ready to participate in modernization of Pakistan’s energy sector.
The Foreign Ministers discussed the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the region. They 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. They agreed to closely coordinate in all Afghanistan-related processes for a regional solution of the Afghan conflict.
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.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif briefed his Russian counterpart on Pakistan’s vision of a peaceful neighborhood. He underlined that Pakistan believed in resolution of disputes through peaceful dialogue.
The Russian Foreign Minister deeply appreciated Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. He conveyed Russia’s continued support for enhancing Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capabilities.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif underscored that Pakistan was, in principle, opposed to sanctions against any country, including Russia, especially when these were politically motivated.
The two Foreign Ministers agreed to continue to consult with each other on a regular basis.
20 February 2018