PM Imran to visit Moscow this month: FM Qureshi

Published February 7, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speak prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. — AFP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speak prior to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. — AFP/File

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday that Prime Minister Imran would visit Moscow this month on the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Radio Pakistan reported.

Referring to a statement issued by the foreign minister, the state broadcaster quoted him as saying that Pakistan's relations with Russia were on a "positive trajectory".

Last month, Prime Minister Imran had held a telephonic conversation with Putin, during which, the premier said, both leaders had invited each other to visit their countries.

At the time, the premier tweeted that he had thanked the Russian leader for his "emphatic" statement against insulting Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), wherein Putin had criticised the publication of blasphemous sketches of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in French magazine Charlie Hebdo and said that insulting the Prophet (PBUH) did not count as an expression of artistic freedom but was a "violation of religious freedom".

PM Imran said the two had also discussed ways to move forward on trade and other mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries.

In this connection, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had also issued a statement, saying: "The prime minister underscored that Pakistan’s bilateral relationship with Russia was on an upward trajectory with an increased focus on trade, economic ties and energy cooperation. He reiterated the government’s resolve for the early realisation of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project."

Prime Minister Imran said he looked forward to Putin’s visit to Pakistan as well as his own visit to Russia at an appropriate time, the statement had added.

China visit

The foreign minister's announcement about Prime Minister Imran's visit to Moscow comes just as the premier concludes a four-day visit to China, which Qureshi described in today's statement as "timely and highly successful".

Referring to a statement issued by Beijing and Islamabad at the visit's end, the foreign minister said the issuance of the joint statement reflected the visit's success.

According to Radio Pakistan, the minister said the two sides had held detailed discussions on bilateral cooperation and the regional situation, including Afghanistan, and were committed to the early completion of second phase of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

"Spoilers do not want to see CPEC progressing. However, they will never succeed in their designs," he added.

Moreover, the minister said a meeting of Afghanistan's neighbouring countries would be convened in Beijing by the end of next month to discuss the future strategy with regards to the situation in the war-torn country.

He added that the Afghan interim government would also be invited to the meeting, according to Radio Pakistan.

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