Russia has confirmed its willingness to supply military hardware to Pakistan to strengthen the country's anti-terrorist potential. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this on Wednesday at a press conference following talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
"We confirmed the Russian side's readiness to continue contributing to the strengthening of Pakistan's anti-terrorist potential, including the supply of relevant equipment," he said.
Lavrov noted that this was in the interests of all states in the region. "We agreed to continue the practice of regular joint tactical exercises in mountainous conditions " Friendship ", as well as naval exercises " Arabian Monsoon " on combating terrorism and piracy," the Minister pointed out.
Russia, Lavrov added, also welcomed recent moves by Pakistan and India to normalize relations. "During the talks, we also welcomed the recent steps taken by India and Pakistan to normalize bilateral relations," he said.
The minister said the talks discussed in detail the situation in the Asia-Pacific region: "Ambiguous processes are now unfolding here, geopolitical structures are being built under the auspices of Washington, strategies are being promoted that contradict everything that has been done in the Asia-Pacific so far."
Russia is categorically against drawing dividing lines in the region, he stressed. "We are in favor of preserving the open structures that were formed under the central role of ASEAN," the Russian Foreign Minister pointed out.
Russia and Pakistan have agreed to assist Afghanistan in forming inclusive power structures, Lavrov also said.
"We have agreed to further facilitate the creation of conditions for the opposing sides to reach constructive solutions that will allow the end of the civil war in Afghanistan through agreements on the formation of inclusive power structures," Lavrov said.
As the Minister noted, terrorist positions in northern and eastern Afghanistan are getting stronger, which is of concern to Moscow and Islamabad.
According to the Minister, the next meeting of the Russian-Pakistani intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation will be held in 2021 in Russia.
"We are satisfied that last year was a record year for bilateral trade turnover, its volume increased by more than 45% and reached $790 million. We have a common opinion that this is not the limit and we need to look for ways to further deepen our economic cooperation. And the intergovernmental commission, which will hold its meeting this year in Russia, will play a decisive role here," Lavrov said.
The previous, sixth meeting of the commission was held in Islamabad in December 2019.
Plans for nuclear power
The countries are also discussing cooperation in the non-energy use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
"Another new area related to energy is our cooperation between Rosatom and the Pakistan Nuclear Power Commission. Specific cooperation in non-energy peaceful uses of nuclear energy, particularly in medicine and industry, is now being discussed in practical terms," the Minister said.
Commenting on aspects of trade cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad, Lavrov recalled that some time ago there was mutual interest in supplying Russian liquefied natural gas through the lines of Gazprom, Rosneft and Novatek. "Proposals have been made accordingly, and we are awaiting the reaction of our Pakistani partners," he added.
"We are interested in making the trend of increasing trade turnover sustainable, for this we need to diversify our relations in this area. <...> I think that these and other areas will help to give additional stability to our relations", summed up the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Pakistan Stream gas pipeline
Russia counts on the coordination of all issues on the construction project of the North-South gas pipeline (changed its name to Pakistan Stream) from Karachi to Lahore to start its implementation as soon as possible, the Russian Foreign Minister said.
"We had a discussion on the prospects of cooperation in the energy sector. The flagship project here is the North-South gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore. We have a corresponding intergovernmental agreement of 2015, now some issues are being clarified, which will become part of the protocol to this agreement. I hope it will be signed, we can quickly start the work," Lavrov said.
The intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the North-South gas pipeline with a length of about 1.1 thousand kilometers and a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meters of gas per year was signed between Russia and Pakistan in October 2015. The parties were to sign commercial agreements in 2016, and the facility was planned to be commissioned by 2018, but the terms of the project have been postponed several times.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry
Based on materials from TASS