PM Imran hopeful of 'peaceful resolution' to Ukraine crisis
Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed hope for a "peaceful solution" to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine as he emphasised that military conflicts could never solve problems.
He made these remarks during an interview with Russia's state-owned television network RT released by the outlet on Tuesday.
"I am not a believer in military conflicts. I believe the civilised societies resolve the difference through dialogues and countries that rely on military conflicts have not studied history properly," the PM told the interviewer.
PM Imran said he was sure that people in Ukraine and Russia were aware of the consequences of an impending conflict.
The premier said Pakistan wanted to strengthen bilateral relations with Russia and that he looks forward to his Moscow visit.
The Foreign Office had on Monday announced the prime minister’s trip, saying PM Imran will visit Russia on Feb 23-24 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the cabinet.
The prime minister, in his interview to the Russian network, pointed out that Pakistan had suffered in the past because of the "politics of blocs".
"Pakistan does not want to become part of any bloc ... rather we desire trading relations with all the countries to lift the people out of poverty," he added.
When asked whether it was too precarious of a time for Pakistan to expand its geopolitical horizon, PM Imran responded: "It doesn’t concern us, we have bilateral relations with Russia and we really want to strengthen it."
He stressed that countries do not develop in isolation but it is the whole region that develops as he cited the example of the European Union.
'TV dialogue with Modi'
PM Imran also said he would like to have a televised debate with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to resolve differences between the two neighbours.
"I would love to debate with Narendra Modi on TV," Khan said, adding that it would be beneficial for the billion people in the subcontinent if differences could be resolved through debate.
"India became a hostile country so trade with them became minimal," the premier said, stressing his government's policy was to have trade relations with all countries.
In response to a query about relations with India, the prime minister said his government immediately reached out to India after coming to power in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute. He, however, regretted that India was taken over by a "racist ideology inspired by Nazis".
The prime minister stressed that greater cooperation between the US, China and Russia will benefit mankind much more than the conflict.
He also highlighted that Pakistan was a gas deficient country, adding that the country's gas pipeline project had suffered a delay because of the US sanctions on the Russian company that Pakistan was negotiating with.
He said the lifting of sanctions on Iran will also help Pakistan get the "cheapest gas" from the neighbouring country.
To a question, the prime minister said climate change and illicit flow of money from poor countries to the developed world were the two major challenges faced by the world.
He said the western countries should frame laws similar to ones on terror financing to check the illicit flows.
With additional input from Reuters