Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a two-day visit to Moscow, held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday during which the premier reaffirmed the importance of the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline as a flagship economic project between the two countries, his office said.
The Kremlin issued a brief statement, saying that the two leaders discussed the main aspects of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on current regional topics, including developments in South Asia. In a handout, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that the two leaders held wide-ranging consultations on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
“Recalling the telephone conversations during the recent months between the two leaders, the prime minister expressed confidence that the positive trajectory of bilateral relations will continue to move forward in the future,” the handout issued late on Thursday said.
PM Imran expressed the hope that the trust and cordiality marking the relationship would translate into further deepening and broadening of mutual cooperation in diverse fields. He also reaffirmed the importance of the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline as a flagship economic project between the two countries and also discussed cooperation on prospective energy related projects. “The prime minister underscored Pakistan’s commitment to [forging] a long-term, multi-dimensional relationship with Russia,” the PMO said.
During the meeting, PM Imran also underlined the need for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and preventing a potential economic meltdown in the war-torn country. “The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan would continue to work with the international community for a stable, peaceful and connected Afghanistan. In this regard, he underscored the ongoing cooperation and coordination between Pakistan and Russia at various international and regional fora, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.”
In regard to South Asia, the prime minister highlighted the human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and underscored the need for a peaceful resolution of the issue. “The prime minister also highlighted the developments detrimental to regional peace and stability and stressed the need for measures that would help keep the regional balance,” the statement said. According to the PMO, PM Imran “regretted” the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine and said that Pakistan had hoped “diplomacy could avert a military conflict”.
“The prime minister stressed that conflict was not in anyone’s interest and that 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 premier also expressed concern about rising extremism and Islamophobia in the country and stressed the need for interfaith harmony and coexistence.
“Appreciating President Putin’s understanding of the respect and sensitivities that the Muslims attach to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the prime minister said that interfaith harmony and respect for all religions was imperative for peace and harmony within and among societies,” the PMO said.
After the meeting with Putin concluded, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov called on the premier along with a delegation.
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