— FM Spokesperson Zakharova says in close contact with Pakistan over Afghan agenda
–Moscow clarifies minister’s anti-Pakistan remarks, terms them a ‘slip of tongue’
MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Friday said that her country and Pakistan share common concerns on Islamic State (aka Daesh) militants gaining momentum in the region, in addition to closely cooperating with Islamabad over Afghan agenda.
Zakharova said that Russia is closely cooperating with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and advancing the peace process in Afghanistan.
In response to a question, she rebutted reported remarks by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Igor Zubov regarding the alleged movement of IS terrorists by helicopters from Pakistan to Tajikistan border, terming it a “slip of tongue”.
“We saw those statements, those quotes,” she answered.
“I think they’re just a slip of the tongue because the [Daesh] combatants are being carried to the borderline between Afghanistan and Tajikistan from the Afghan territory, and we cooperate closely with Pakistan in fighting terrorism as well as on the Afghan agenda, and we share common concerns regarding [Daesh] gaining momentum on the territory there and the extent and full expansion of that terrorist group,” she added.
Maria Zakharova said great contribution is being made by all the countries bordering Afghanistan and Russia is a reliable partner of those countries in every effort to ensure the security of the borders.
On January 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov appreciated Pakistan’s role and efforts for Afghan peace and reconciliation.
Kabulov made the comments during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Russian envoy also met Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua. The two parties discussed matters pertaining to regional security and the efforts made by both Russia and Pakistan to reach a political solution in Afghanistan.
In December last year, Russian Ambassador in Pakistan Alexey Dedov had said that Pakistan’s commitment and efforts for regional peace and stability are highlighted by the country’s decision to open the Kartarpur Corridor.
During a visit to Moscow by FM Qureshi to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, “Both the ministers agreed to continue efforts, including through Moscow Format of Consultations, for supporting reconciliation under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.”
“Recent developments concerning Afghan peace process were also discussed,” during the meeting, according to a handout released by the Foreign Ministry.
“It was underlined that being the most important stakeholders, Pakistan and Russia had shared interests and concerns in Afghanistan and had the common goal of supporting all efforts to restore peace and stability in the country.”
Qureshi had also expressed government of Pakistan’s desire to forge a long-term, multidimensional partnership and friendship with Russia. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the upward trajectory of bilateral relations.