In call with Putin, PM Imran stresses coordinated approaches to evolving Afghan situation

Published August 26, 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

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday stressed the importance of adopting coordinated approaches to address the evolving situation in Afghanistan, saying that Pakistan gave "high importance" to the role of the Troika Plus format.

Pakistan and Russia, along with the United States and China, are known as the Extended Troika on Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan and have held multiple meetings this year on the situation in the war-torn country.

Prime Minister Imran, who received a call from Putin today, exchanged views on the Afghan situation as well as bilateral relations with the Russian president, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.

Read: Why the Troika Plus format has an important role to play in the Afghanistan end-game

The prime minister emphasised that a stable, secure and peaceful Afghanistan was "vitally important" for Pakistan and regional stability. He also highlighted that an inclusive political settlement was the "best way forward" in Afghanistan, along with ensuring the safety, security and protection of rights of Afghans, according to the PMO handout.

Furthermore, the premier stressed that the international community must stay "positively engaged in support of the people of Afghanistan to help address humanitarian needs and ensure economic sustenance".

Talking about Pakistan-Russia relations, Prime Minister Imran expressed satisfaction at their "upward trajectory", noting that high-level exchanges were increasing and cooperation in various sectors was growing.

He also affirmed Pakistan's resolve to strengthen trade relations as well as bilateral collaboration in the energy sector, including the early realisation of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project, the statement said.

Imran and Putin agreed to "closely cooperate within the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) for promoting regional peace and security", it added.

The prime minister also invited the Russian leader to visit Pakistan.

Last month, amid reports that Putin was going to visit Pakistan in July, the Foreign Office spokesperson had clarified that while "invitations for visits at the summit level have been extended by both sides", no visit of the Russian president was scheduled.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Islamabad in April this year, and Pakistan's foreign and defence ministers visited Russia last year.

Lavrov's 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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