MOSCOW: In view of the Ukraine crisis, the schedule of a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been changed, sources told Geo News Thursday.
Earlier, a one-hour-long meeting between the two leaders was scheduled but after the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Moscow authorities have extended the duration of the meeting to three hours, the sources added.
As per the new schedule, both the leaders will now have lunch together, which is scheduled at 3pm (PST).
Matters of mutual interest, bilateral relations, economic cooperation, regional situation and other issues will be discussed in the meeting, the sources said.
During the meeting with the Russian president, PM Imran Khan will push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies, an official had told Reuters.
"Both countries are eager to launch the project at the earliest," Pakistan's energy ministry spokesman had told Reuters about the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline.
The 1,100 km (683 mile)-long pipeline, also known as the North-South gas pipeline, was initially agreed to in 2015 and was to be financed by both Moscow and Islamabad, using a Russian company to construct it.
PM Imran Khan lands in Russia for two-day visit
Yesterday night, PM Imran Khan landed in Moscow for a two-day visit — from February 23-24 — to push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies, an official said.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov had received the prime minister at the airport, while the Russian military presented a guard of honour to him.
In an interview ahead of his trip, PM Imran Khan had expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine and the possibility of new sanctions and their effect on Islamabad's budding cooperation with Moscow.
It is unclear how the latest sanctions will affect the project, which would deliver imported Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Karachi on the Arabian Sea coast to power plants in Punjab.
The project is important for Pakistan — particularly the power sector — as the country's dependence on imported LNG grows in the face of dwindling indigenous gas supplies.
The pipeline project has already suffered delays because of earlier sanctions.
"This North-South pipeline suffered, one of the reasons...was the companies we were negotiating with, turned out that the US had applied sanctions on them," Khan had told Russia Today on Tuesday.
"So, the problem was to get a company that wasn’t sanctioned," he had said of the project.
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