Pakistan desires stronger energy coop with Russia: Bilawal

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.