ISLAMABAD, April 11: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail E. Fradkov arrived here late on Wednesday night on a three-day official visit aimed at bolstering and diversifying bilateral cooperation.

Mr. Fradkov is the first Prime Minister of the Russian Federation to visit Pakistan.

The Russian prime minister is accompanied by a large entourage comprising deputy ministers, senior officials, representatives of the business community and a 30-member media team.

On arrival at the Chakala airbase aboard his special aircraft, the Russian premier was received by the federal minister for communications, Mr Shamim Siddiqui, and senior foreign ministry officials including additional foreign secretary Miangul Akbarzeb. Some members of the Russian delegation arrived in a separate aircraft around 40 minutes before the Russian premier landed here.

His first official engagement on Thursday morning will be delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. Mr. Fradkov will also address a gathering of business representatives later in the day.

On Friday he will meet President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

While the prime focus of bilateral discussions would be to enhance economic collaboration, high on the agenda would be cooperation in civil nuclear technology and defence sector, it is learnt.

Four bilateral agreements will be signed during the visit in the areas of railways, narcotics control and culture exchanges, diplomatic sources told Dawn, adding that a pact on ‘settlement of claims’ was also likely to be initialled.

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