PM Imran reaffirms resolve to cement trade ties with Russia

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday held a meeting with a delegation of top Russian businessmen in Islamabad and reaffirmed to strengthen collaboration between the two counties in several sectors, including economy and trade.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, the Russian delegation was lead by Dmitry Pumpyanskiy, the Chairman of the Board of Directors TMK and the President of Sinara Group. The delegation also included high-level representatives of management from both TMK and Sinara Group.

The Pakistani side included several cabinet members, included Hammad Azhar, Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Zulfiqar Abbass Bukhari, Tabish Gauhar, Atif Bokhari, and other senior officials.

 On this occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated the incumbent government’s resolve to provide a business-friendly environment to investors to attract much-needed FDI. The delegation showed keen interest to invest in different projects in Pakistan.

Two sides were agreed to increase cooperation between Russia and Pakistan in several industrial sectors, including large-scale manufacturing, railways and the energy sector was discussed in detail during the meeting. Both sides agreed upon expediting the projects that are already in the pipeline.

Earlier, the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Russia held delegation-level talks focusing on a wide range of bilateral relations including economy, trade and defense.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov led their respective sides and discussed matters pertaining to regional and international importance during the first visit of a Russian foreign minister to Pakistan in nine years. 

Later addressing a joint news conference, the Russian Foreign Minister said his country stands ready to further build counter-terrorism potential through the provision of military equipment.

He said this is in the interest of all states of the region and both sides have agreed to further conduct military exercises and drills. Lavrov expressed satisfaction over a 46 percent increase in bilateral trade but stressed there is a need to further diversify it.

Discussing the opportunities in the energy sector, the Russian Foreign Minister said both the countries are now discussing a new protocol on the Stream Gas Pipeline project and as soon as it is signed, the construction work on the project will be started.      

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov termed the relationship between the two countries mutually beneficial and constructive. He said Russia has provided 50,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan and intends to provide 150,000 more.

Voicing concern over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, he said Pakistan and Russia have agreed to further facilitate the parties to reach an agreement to put an end to civil war through an inclusive political dialogue.

“We believe that against the backdrop of tensions in the region, we should not forget the task of establishment of the state of Palestine,” he said, adding that Russia stands ready to facilitate direct dialogue between Palestine and Israel.