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June 15, 2021

Pakistan makes fresh request for 5m Sputnik doses

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday requested Russia once again for assistance in procuring 5 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines during a telephonic conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

Qureshi reaffirmed that relations with Russia were a key priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy. During his visit to Islamabad in April this year, Lavrov had assured, “We have a number of foreign partners to produce these vaccines. So these vaccines can be supplied to Pakistan. As much as we can, we will be helping Pakistan to cover the demand “.

The first shipment of 50,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived in Pakistan in March for the private sector and proved extremely popular for those who bought it.

During the call, the two foreign ministers exchanged views on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest said the Foreign Office. Russia has also recently lifted the ban on import of rice from Pakistan — a move welcomed by Pakistan.

Qureshi told Lavrov that Pakistan hoped that joint mechanisms such as political consultations, Pakistan-Russia IGC and various other Joint Working Groups meetings would resume in-person once the COVID situation had normalized.

He said Lavrov’s recent visit to Pakistan reflected keenness of both sides to deepen their long-term multidimensional partnership. Qureshi said Pakistan-Russia relations had made an impressive progress over the past two decades and both must continue to capitalize on their cooperation.

He further said an important development since Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit was the signing of a protocol on amendments to Inter Governmental Agreement for the development of North-South Gas Pipeline Project (Pakistan Stream) adding that it would pave way for an early commencement of the project.

The two foreign ministers stressed the importance of follow-up action on the decisions made during the recent visits to transform these into tangible outcomes. Both sides agreed to work closely for an early negotiated political settlement of the Afghan issue.

Meanwhile, Pakistan was Monday elected as regular member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO).