Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday urged a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine conflict, highlighting the consequential “economic impact” Pakistan and other developing countries were facing due to the ongoing war.
He was addressing a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Moscow. Bilawal reached Russia over the weekend for a two-day official visit.
“We have a firm belief that all conflicts can be resolved peacefully and there are no obstacles which diplomacy cannot surmount. Ukraine conflict is no exception. Developing countries like Pakistan are facing negative consequences of the conflict in terms of economic impact,” the foreign minister said.
Bilawal expressed hope that the “strong tradition of diplomacy of Russia would help achieve the peaceful resolution of the conflict”.
He said Pakistan considered Russia an important player in West, South, and Central Asia, adding that the country would keep up high-level contact with the Russian Federation.
Apprising media of the meeting, FM Bilawal said their “friendly” and “detailed” discussion encompassed all aspects of bilateral relations and regional matters.
He shed light on how both countries were celebrating the 75th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and that Pakistan desired to strengthen its cooperation with Russia in the fields of trade, security, defence, counter-terrorism, education, and people-to-people contacts.
Bilawal spoke about the summit-level meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand as well as the 8th Inter-Government Commission held in Islamabad which focused on trade, economy, and energy cooperation.
“We also discussed bilateral cooperation at multilateral fora including the United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO),” he said. “Pakistan and Russia had good cooperation on Afghanistan and wanted to achieve common goals of peace and stability in the war-torn country.”
Replying to a question on Pak-Russia energy cooperation, FM Bilawal said the incumbent government was committed to coping with the country’s energy needs.
Earlier this month, Pakistan and Russia decided to address all technical issues — insurance, transportation, and payment mechanism — to sign an agreement by late March this year for the supply of Russian oil and other petroleum products at discounted rates.
According to Reuters, Pakistan will pay for energy purchases from Russia — when they start in late March — in “currencies of friendly countries”, a top Russian energy ministry official had said.
Over the weekend, speakers at a webinar urged the government to fast-track the process of economic and energy cooperation agreements with Russia after the recently signed memorandums of understanding (MoU).
In today’s address, FM Bilawal added that Pakistan valued its cooperation with Russia, the United States, and Europe. “The country consistently called for dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes.”
In his remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was satisfied with its military cooperation with Pakistan and that both countries were holding regular military contacts including joint exercises and military training.
The Russian foreign minister also condemned the terrorist attack in the Peshawar mosque earlier in the day, calling for global cooperation for the elimination of terrorism.
Lavrov said that during the meeting they discussed building humanitarian, cultural, and educational links.