Bilawal visit to Russia: Two countries agree to boost cooperation in diverse sectors

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have agreed to further enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in areas of trade, energy, education, culture, security and counter-terrorism.

The understanding was reached during delegation level talks between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

The discussions covered the entire range of bilateral relations with a special focus on trade and economic relations, energy cooperation as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The two sides also agreed on the importance of regular high-level exchanges for mutual benefit of both countries and their peoples.

In their discussion on regional situation, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari apprised the Russian side on Pakistan’s efforts for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

He also briefed the Russian delegation on Pakistan’s perspective on stability and security in South Asia and gross human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The two sides also reviewed cooperation at various multilateral institutions, including United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari reached Moscow at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Sunday.

On Monday, Bilawal held talks with Lavrov, a week after Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement on the supply of Russian crude oil and oil products.

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 will pay for energy purchases from Russia, when they start in late March, in currencies of friendly countries.

During the talks, both countries agreed that after consensus on the technical specifications was achieved, the oil and gas trade transaction will be structured in a way it has a mutual economic benefit for both countries.

The officials also agreed to strengthen energy cooperation, enhance energy trade and broaden energy infrastructure investment based on strategic and favourable commercial terms.

Both sides have agreed to work on a “Comprehensive Plan for Energy Cooperation”, which would form the foundation for future work and is to be finalised in 2023.

Pakistan and Russia also agreed to further strengthen and enhance collaboration in the fields of trade and investment, energy, communication and transport, higher education, industry, railways, finance and banking sector, customs, agriculture, science and technology, and information technology.



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