Source: The Nation
Foreign minister meets his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of SCO CFMs’ meeting in Goa n FM Bilawal says Pakistan gives great importance to SCO, looks forward to engaging SCO member countries for regional stability, peace.
ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has assured his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, of deepening cooperation between Pakistan and Russia in energy and other sectors.
Bilawal met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in the Indian city of Goa on Thursday, the Foreign Office (FO) said.
The FM is attending the SCO CFMs meeting at the invitation of the current Chair of SCO CFM, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of India.
“During the meeting, both the leaders discussed bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest”, a statement from the Foreign Office said.
Foreign Minister Bilawal assured his Russian counterpart to work closely for further deepening cooperation in food security, energy and people-to-people contacts. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif the other day had said that cheap oil imported from Russia would arrive in Pakistan soon.
He made the comments during a National Assembly session in response to the opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) claims that the incumbent government had come into power through a “foreign conspiracy”.
Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik had told the media earlier this month that the government had made its first purchase of Russian crude oil, and a cargo would dock at Karachi port in May. In a press conference last week, the Maliki Friday that the government would set up a refinery to meet the country’s energy needs. “Energy is necessary for economic progress,” he said. “Pakistan will be on the road to progress soon.”
In his Twitter account, Bilawal said, “On my way to Goa, India. Will be leading the Pakistan delegation at the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers. My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO.”
On arrival at Goa, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan gives great importance to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
“My participation gives a clear message that how Pakistan shows importance to the SCO and how seriously it takes its membership,” the FM said in a video message before his departure to attend the SCO’s CFM meeting in Goa.
The FM said he looked forward to engaging the countries which were part of this organization.
He said his decision to attend this meeting illustrated Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO.
“During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries”, the foreign minister said in a tweet.
He expressed confidence that the CFMs conference would lead to a successful outcome.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had also attended the last meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in July last year in Tashkent.
“During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan’s decision to attend the SCO meet reflected the country’s commitment to the organisation’s charter and multilateralism.
“We are committed to playing our part to advance our shared values of peace and stability in the region. We are all for win-win understandings based on connectivity, trade and mutually advantageous cooperation,” he said.
Bilawal’s trip is the first visit to India by a foreign minister of Pakistan since July 2011, when then-foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited for peace talks.
The visit comes at a time when the relationship between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals has nosedived over a combination of factors.
Pakistan has already made it clear that the foreign minister during his visit will not hold any bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart.
The foreign minister has also dismissed speculation surrounding his upcoming trip, saying it should not be interpreted as a sign of improved bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries.
The foreign minister is also expected to meet with his counterparts from friendly countries on the sidelines of the meeting.
In addition to deliberating upon important regional and international issues and signing some of the institutional documents, the SCO meeting will finalise the agenda and decisions to be adopted by the 17th SCO Council of Heads of State Meeting scheduled to take place in New Delhi on July 3-4, 2023.
The meeting will also witness the signing of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with five countries namely Bahrain, Kuwait Maldives, Myanmar and UAE to become Dialogue Partners of SCO. Besides Pakistan, SCO member states include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India.
Meanwhile, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will visit Pakistan from today (May 5 to 6) and attend the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Mao Ning announced on yesterday.
Sharing the relevant arrangements for the visit, she said that this is the first visit of State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang to Pakistan.
She remarked that the visit of Qin Gang is also an important part of the recent intensive interaction between China and Pakistan.
During the visit, the China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister will meet with the leaders of Pakistan, and co-chair the fourth strategic dialogue between the foreign ministers of China and Pakistan with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
“Qin Gang will conduct face-to-face and in-depth communication on the relations between the two countries and the international and regional situation,” she added.
On the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan FMs dialogue, she said that at present, the Afghan people have gone through the most difficult period, but they are still facing serious challenges and urgently need more support and help from the outside world.
The Chinese FM is in India for the SCO meeting before the Pakistan trip. FM Bilawal is also in India.