Russian FM arrives on landmark visit with rousing welcome

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By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD: Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has arrived in Islamabad here on Tuesday on a two-day official visit to Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received his Russian counterpart and his delegation at the airport.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the Russian foreign minister will have delegation-level talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. He will also call on Prime Minister Imran Khan and have interaction with other dignitaries.
During the talks between the two foreign ministers, the entire gamut of Pakistan-Russia relations will be reviewed and ways discussed to further broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields, read the statement. The two foreign ministers will also exchange views on regional and international issues. Lavrov’s visit is part of the growing interaction and regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the Russian Federation.
Lavrov’s visit is part of the growing interaction and regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the Russian Federation.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met Foreign Minister Lavrov on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Bishkek in June 2019 and the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Moscow in September 2020. Pakistan and Russia enjoy friendly and cooperative relations based on mutual respect, trust and understanding.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan would welcome if Russia made an investment for the revival of Pakistan Steels Mills (PSM) or other projects.
The PSM was set up with the technical and financial help of Russia and now its role in the revival of the entity could open up several opportunities to strengthen bilateral cooperation, Qureshi said in a video statement regarding the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The PSM was closed in 2015 due to heavy financial losses. The foreign minister said the visit of a Russian foreign minister to Pakistan after nine years reflected a “new and positive dimension” of bilateral relations. He said the talks would focus on strengthening economic, trade and defence ties. Qureshi said Pakistan and Russia were ready to cooperate with each other as their bilateral relations improved with time. He said Russia was an important country in the region and expressed confidence that the talks would yield good results in fortifying bilateral ties.
He said both countries wanted to carry out work on North-South gas pipeline project. He recalled that during the flour crisis in Pakistan, Russia ensured supply of wheat so as to help stabilize the price of the commodity.