Pakistan keen to forge long-term partnership with Russia: Qureshi to Lavrov

Pakistan keen to forge long-term partnership with Russia: Qureshi to Lavrov

Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday called his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and expressed Islamabad’s desire to forge a long-term and multi-dimensional partnership with Moscow as the two leaders discussed matters like COVID-19 pandemic and the Afghan peace process.

During their telephonic conversation, Qureshi offered condolences on the loss of precious lives in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russia, currently the third worst-hit country from COVID-19, has reported 561,091 confirmed cases. The country’s death toll stands at 7,660,

Matters of mutual interest, including the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation at the multilateral fora, prospects of enhanced bilateral cooperation, and regional issues were discussed, according to Foreign Office here.

The two Foreign Ministers exchanged views about the socio-economic ramifications about the pandemic. Foreign Minister Lavrov expressed solidarity with Pakistan in its efforts to combat the outbreak.

Qureshi underlined that Pakistan considered Russia an important partner and desired to forge a long-term and multi-dimensional partnership with Russia.

Pakistan’s ties with Russia have moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities and the chill in the US-Pakistan relations has further pushed the country towards Russia and China.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the situation in Afghanistan in the context of the recent positive developments.

Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and underlined Pakistan’s positive contribution to the US-Taliban peace agreement.

After more than 18 years of war in Afghanistan, the US and the Taliban reached an agreement on February 29 in what was both sides” most intensive efforts yet to end the war.

Central to the deal is a significant drawdown of US troops and guarantees from the Taliban that the country would not become a safe haven for terrorists.

Qureshi stressed the importance of inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations as the only way to build durable peace and security in the country.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed on maintaining close consultations as part of regional efforts to support the Afghan peace process.

He also discussed Kashmir with Lavrov.

During the telephonic talks, Qureshi shared deep concern over the “continuing double lockdown” in Kashmir and the new domicile law, the Foreign Office said.

Pakistan has been accusing India of attempting to change the demographic structure of Kashmir.

Qureshi underlined the importance of urgent steps to address the situation in Kashmir, the Foreign Office said.

The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact to take forward the important bilateral agenda and close cooperation in the regional context, it said.

Qureshi apprised his Russian counterpart of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for Global Initiative on Debt Relief for developing countries.

Khan in April urged the global community to launch an initiative to give debt relief to developing countries that are fighting the novel coronavirus.

Pakistan’s total coronavirus tally stands at 160,118 with over 3,000 deaths.

Qureshi said that coordinated and comprehensive actions were essential to creating fiscal space needed by the developing world to deal with the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

The Russian Foreign Minister expressed support for the debt relief initiative and assured to play a positive role.

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