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PM Imran meets Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussing important matters


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MOSCOW: The meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin is underway, with both leaders discussing bilateral relations and other important matters.

The one-on-one three-hour-long meeting comes amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

PM Imran Khan will also discuss issues including economic cooperation hours after a number of Western nations hit Russia with new sanctions for its military deployment into parts of eastern Ukraine.

PM Imran Khan arrived in Moscow on a two-day official visit yesterday, where he was received at the airport by Russia’s deputy foreign minister and presented with a guard of honor at the airport.

The premier is set to push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies, an official told Reuters.

“Both countries are eager to launch the project at the earliest,” Pakistan’s energy ministry spokesman told Reuters about the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline. He confirmed that Energy Minister Hammad Azhar is accompanying Khan on the visit.

The 1,100 km (683 mile)-long pipeline, also known as the North-South gas pipeline, was initially agreed to in 2015 and was to be financed by both Moscow and Islamabad, using a Russian company to construct it.

In an interview ahead of his trip, PM Imran Khan had expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine and the possibility of new sanctions and their effect on Islamabad’s budding cooperation with Moscow.

It is unclear how the latest sanctions will affect the project, which would deliver imported Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Karachi on the Arabian Sea coast to power plants in Punjab.

FM Qureshi meets Russian counterpart

Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed important regional and global issues amid the Moscow-Kyiv crisis.

During the meeting, Pakistan and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations, with FM Qureshi assuring his counterpart that Islamabad gives importance to its relationship with Moscow.

“Pakistan attaches special importance to bilateral relations with Russia […] relations between Pakistan and Russia have gradually strengthened,” FM Qureshi said while speaking on the occasion.

The foreign minister said Pakistan is pursuing the agenda of promoting economic priorities and regional ties under the vision of PM Imran Khan.

The two leaders discussed important regional and global issues, including bilateral relations, enhancing cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

Later, Lavrov congratulated FM Qureshi and Pakistani leadership for successfully conducting the extraordinary Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers session on Afghanistan.

The Russian foreign minister also expressed best wishes regarding the upcoming meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad next month.

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