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Aziz wants ties with Russia enhanced

January 28, 2006

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 27: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Friday stressed the need to enhance cooperation between Pakistan and Russia in the fields of education, science and technology, energy, defence and trade and investment.

He was talking to a Russian media delegation that called on him at the Prime Minister’s House on Friday.

Mr Aziz said the whole dynamics in the world were changing and Pakistan was desirous of having better relations with other countries.

The prime minister said Pakistan was trying to increase its capacity in energy sector. “Plans are underway to import gas. Pakistan and Russia need to cooperate in oil and gas, electricity and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” he added.

The prime minister said: “We are eager to see progress in peace process between India and Pakistan and want a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem, which is acceptable to the Kashmiri people,” Mr Aziz said.

He said Pakistan’s proposals for demilitarization and self-governance of the disputed territory could go a long way in expediting a resolution of the longstanding Kashmir issue.

On the nuclear issues related to Iran, Mr Aziz said Pakistan was against nuclear proliferation. However, every country had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

Reiterating Pakistan’s stand that it was against use of force against Iran, he said Moscow, which had close relations with Tehran, could play an important role in finding solution to the Iranian nuclear row.

Replying to a question, he agreed that Pakistan and Russia could cooperate in security matters.

Mr Aziz said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with members having big markets had the potential to serve as a platform for cooperation in economic and security fields and could contribute to the uplift of the region.

Highlighting investment opportunities in Pakistan, the prime minister said that the structural reforms introduced in the country were based on the philosophy of privatization, deregulation and liberalization of the economy. The reforms had made Pakistan an attractive place for investors, he added.

He said Pakistan owing to its geo-strategic location was ideal route for trade with Central Asian Republics and therefore Pakistan had been strengthening its infrastructure and building highways to facilitate trade with CARs and Russia, he added.