Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani speak during the meeting of the Shanghai cooperation Organization dominated by Moscow and Beijing in St.Petersburg, Russia. -AP Photo

ST. PETERSBURG: Russia on Monday, for the first time, publicly endorsed Pakistan's bid to get full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made this announcement in response to Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani's address at the 10th Heads of Government meeting of SCO, at the Constantine Palace.

The Russian Premier also supported Prime Minister Gilani's proposals for implementing trade and energy projects.

He announced financing 0.5 billion US dollars for the CASA- 1000 that would ensure power transmission from Turkmenistan Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Putin said in practical and tangible terms, Russia wants materialization of projects including TAPI (Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project and the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Trade and Transmission Project (CASA 1000).

Later, the two leaders held bilateral meeting and discussed several important issues including fight against terrorism and extremism, besides calling for the need to adopt regional approach towards dealing with major challenges.

Russian Premier Putin termed his meeting with Prime Minister Gilani “very pleasant” and expressed satisfaction over bilateral and trade ties between the two countries.

“Pakistan is important for us in trade and economy and it is an important partner in South Asia and in Islamic world,” he told Prime Minister Gilani.

Putin offered Russia's assistance in expansion of Pakistan Steel Mills and provision of technical support for the Guddu and Muzaffargarh power plants.

He said Russia could facilitate Pakistan in the execution of Thar Coal Project.

Gilani said this was his fourth meeting with Prime Minister Putin. He mentioned that he joined other leaders at the SCO forum despite the occasion of Eid, because of the importance of the forum and also of Pakistan's commitment to the regional issues.

He appreciated Russia's support for mega projects including CASA 1000.

Putin supported Pakistan's stance on war on terror and agreed to pursue the policy of counter-terrorism for ensuring regional peace.

The two Prime Ministers agreed that collective regional efforts were required to eliminate terrorism from the region to usher in peace and stability, and re-direct all energies towards economic interaction among the members of SCO.

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