FO denies reports of Putin visiting Pakistan this month

Published July 5, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. — AFP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. — AFP/File

The Foreign Office on Monday denied media reports claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Pakistan in July.

In a statement, FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said some media reports were making rounds regarding the Russian president’s visit to Pakistan this month.

He clarified that while “invitations for visits at the summit level have been extended by both sides”, no visit by the Russian president had been scheduled yet.

Chaudhri emphasised that Pakistan and Russia were close partners and friends. “The two sides are committed to building a strong multi-dimensional relationship that not only serves their respective national interests but also contributes to regional as well as global peace and security,” he said.

The spokesperson said exchange of high-level visits was an important part of the growing Pakistan-Russia relations.

Chaudhri recalled that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov paid a successful visit to Islamabad in April this year and last year Pakistan’s foreign minister and defence minister visited the Russian Federation.

Lavrov's visit to Pakistan two months ago came as Moscow sought to increase its stature in the region, particularly in Afghanistan, where it looks to inject itself as a key player in accelerated efforts to find a peaceful end to decades of war. His two-day trip to Pakistan was the first visit by a Russian foreign minister in nine years, part of a warming in once frosty relations.

During his trip to Islamabad, the Russian foreign minister had remarked in a statement: “We stand ready to strengthen the anti-terrorist potential of Pakistan, including by supplying Pakistan with special military equipment.”

Lavrov had said an agreement was also reached on conducting additional joint military exercises such as the Arabian Monsoon maritime drill.

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