TAXILA: Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov has said that Moscow will soon call a meeting of regional and international partners and stakeholders to work out a just solution to the Afghan issue.

He was talking to newsmen here after visiting Taxila Museum and Buddhist archaeological sites.

He said the meeting which was scheduled to be held in September was being rescheduled on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s request and it would be attended by Iran, China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He said that Moscow supported all peace initiatives to solve the Afghan problem as there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict. He said that Russia’s main aim was to maintain geo-political stability in the world rather than acting like a superpower.

“We are hopeful that intra-Afghan dialogue will pave the way for a peaceful solution to decades-old Afghan issue,” the Russian ambassador said.

Mr Dedov said that Russia had historic relations with Pakistan and it was high time for both countries to move ahead and make more frequent exchanges at government, parliamentary and military levels besides doing more joint ventures to foster growth.

He said that Special Forces of Russia and Pakistan held their first joint counterterrorism exercise in 2016 called Druzhba 2016 or Friendship 2016. Similar exercises, he said, were held in 2017 and 2018 and Russia’s relations with Pakistan in defence field were becoming stronger after the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement in 2014 followed by a deal for four Mi-35 attack Russian helicopters for Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2018