WASHINGTON: Reacting to Prime Minister Imran Khan's Russia visit, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that they have already apprised Islamabad of Washington's position on Russia’s further escalation in Ukraine.
Addressing a press conference in Washington, the spokesperson said, "We have briefed them on our efforts to pursue diplomacy over war."
Price said that the US views the partnership with a prosperous, democratic Pakistan as critical to its interests.
"We certainly hope, when it comes to those shared interests – the aversion of a costly conflict, the aversion of a destabilizing conflict, that every country around the world would make that point clearly in unambiguous language in their engagements with the Russian Federation," he added.
The visit of PM Imran has assumed international significance as Russia announced to launch operation in Ukraine's Donbas region.
PM Imran Khan lands in Russia
Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday 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 received the prime minister at the airport, while the Russian military presented a guard of honour to him.
PM Imran Khan's trip to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss issues including economic cooperation comes hours after a number of Western nations hit Russia with new sanctions for its military deployment into parts of eastern Ukraine.
Schedule of Imran-Putin meeting changed
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 today (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.
During his meeting with Putin, 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. He confirmed that Energy Minister Hammad Azhar is accompanying Khan on the visit.
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.
Additional input from Reuters
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