MOSCOW: A week after Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement on the supply of Russian crude oil and oil products, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that his country would "cooperate fully" to meet the energy needs of Pakistan.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart, the Russian FM commended Pakistan for maintaining a neutral position in the Russian-Ukraine war and said that the two countries would continue to cooperate in various fields, including education, economy, energy and connectivity.
On January 28, the Foreign Office announced that Minister of Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had been invited to Moscow by his Russian counterpart to “hold official talks with his Russian counterpart where the two sides would deliberate upon the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.”
During the joint press conference after the talks on Monday, the two ministers said that the countries would continue to cooperate and work together.
Speaking at the conference, FM Bilawal said that the two had a “fruitful” discussion regarding the energy sector, stressing that both countries wanted to enhance bilateral relations.
He also underscored the devastation caused to Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure by recent floods that affected millions of people in the country, adding “relations between Pakistan and Russia are important for bilateral and regional stability”.
“Pakistan attaches great importance to relations with Russia and wants to further promote relations with Russia,” Bilawal said, adding that the talks had proved fruitful and the nations would continue to talk on matters in all fields “in a friendly atmosphere”.
Moreover, his Russian counterpart too asserted that the cooperation between the two countries in various fields would continue and that Russia would “cooperate fully” to meet Pakistan’s energy needs.
He congratulated both states on the successful completion of the 8th inter-governmental meeting, which ended on January 20 and during which Russia and Pakistan agreed on late March as the timeline for crude oil export.
The two foreign ministers also discussed regional and international developments. Bilawal said that Pakistan wanted a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian conflict, while the Russian FM said that Pakistan’s neutral position regarding the matter was commendable.
The Russian FM also said, “Pakistan and Russia hold a common stance on a number of issues on international forums.
“The two countries also have the same position regarding cooperation in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO),” adding that Russia would continue to support Pakistan’s efforts to establish peace in Afghanistan.
Taking to Twitter, FM Bilawal wote: "Met with FM Sergey Lavrov. Had discussion on bilat[eral], reg[ional] & int[ernational] issues. Pakistan-Russia relations have come a long way during last 2 decades; reiterated commitment to upward trajectory esp[esically] in fields of econ[omy], trade & energy. Emphasized dialogue & diplomacy as the path to peace."
The visit is significant because even when the Russians have their hands full with Ukraine, they still extended this invitation, a sign of warming relations and a chance to discuss further the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
On January 20, Islamabad and Moscow — after the conclusion of the annual inter-governmental commission — agreed on late March as the timeline for crude oil export.
This is a major development for Pakistan as the country is facing a severe economic crisis.
State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik revealed that "Pakistan wants to import 35% of its total crude oil" requirement from Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia's Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov also said that Pakistan would pay for energy purchases from Russia, when they start in late March, in currencies of friendly countries.
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