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Reports about PM's participation in Eastern Economic Forum in Russia 'speculative': FO

Updated July 09, 2019

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (c) and Prime Minister Imran Khan pose for a photo prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14. — AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin (c) and Prime Minister Imran Khan pose for a photo prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14. — AFP

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Tuesday termed reports regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan's participation in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Russia as "speculative".

Taking to Twitter, Dr Faisal said Pakistan and Russia remain in contact about engagement at the highest level.

"Any announcement in this regard would be made formally at [the] appropriate time," he wrote.

Sources in the FO had on Saturday said that Prime Minister Imran would join the EEF meeting in Russia in September on the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The invitation was extended by President Putin during the recently-held Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting that both leaders had attended, the sources had said.

Following the reports, however, Indian media outlets quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the Russian foreign ministry had dismissed reports that PM Imran had been invited for the forum in September, where The Economic Times said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest.

It was not clear whether the FO spokesperson was terming the reports in the Indian media as speculative or those published by the Pakistani media, or both.

His statement comes as Prime Minister Imran is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump on July 22 during an official working visit to Washington.

EEF is an international forum held each year since 2015 in September, in Vladivostok, Russia. The forum seeks to encourage foreign investment in the Russian Far East.

Pakistan and Russia have both been on the same page regarding bringing long-term peace to Afghanistan. In December 2018, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Russia during a whirlwind four-nation tour.

The two sides "agreed to continue efforts, including through Moscow Format of Consultations, for supporting reconciliation under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process", the Foreign Office said at the time.