Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar prior to a meeting in Islamabad, Oct 4, 2012. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday said that every Pakistani wanted the country's relations with Russia to be strengthened, adding that, Pakistan and Russia were renewing their ties, DawnNews reported.

Addressing a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Khar said she hoped that the Pakistani and Russian heads of state would soon meet.

Khar said she and the Russian foreign minister held talks on regional and global challenges confronting both countries.

"The Russian foreign minister's visit is significant for the prospects of regional peace and security," Khar said.

She further said that in the past, Russia had played a significant role in Pakistan's development.

Speaking at the press conference, Lavrov said the ties between Pakistan and Russia were crucial in the light of the current regional and global situation.

Lavrov said the two countries had agreed on increasing cooperation in several areas, including the political and economic sectors.

Lavrov and Khar said the two countries were working on forging stronger bonds in areas such as the steel and energy sectors, as well as combatting drug smuggling.

During their meeting, Lavrov and Khar also discussed the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria, as well as other crises in the Middle East and North Africa.

Neither offered details about what they discussed, but Lavrov said ''there is a convergence of views on all these issues.''

The Russian foreign minister also expressed dismay over the violence at the Syrian-Turkish border.

Lavrov had arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday evening on a two-day visit. He is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Lavrov was invited by Khar earlier this year, but dates for his trip had to be pulled up after Putin opted against travelling to Islamabad for bilateral meetings and a quadrilateral summit on Afghanistan.

Lavrov’s visit comes as Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani flew to Russia for consolidating progress in defence cooperation.

Kayani would be holding discussions with Russian leaders on furthering bilateral cooperation, particularly in the field of defence.

Visits of officials from the two countries may help in consolidating a relationship but in the world of diplomacy long-term convergences sustain ties.

Russia and Pakistan have convergence of views on Afghanistan, regional stability and counter-narcotics efforts. Russia additionally sees Pakistan as a country playing an important role in countering terrorism and achievement of its vision of regional connectivity. — DawnNews/AP


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