• No agreements, memorandums of understanding signed during the whirlwind tour
• Every responsible country should express concern about Ukraine, US tells Pakistan
• A visit to Europe is also being planned, canceling the trip would have been difficult, says Fawad
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Imran Khan conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that he regretted the situation developing between Russia and Ukraine, adding that Islamabad hoped the military conflict could be averted through a diplomatic solution.
Prime Minister Khan and his entourage, who concluded the historic visit to Moscow after a working lunch that lasted more than three hours, left the Russian capital around 9:30 p.m. local time.
A statement issued after the meeting said Prime Minister Khan emphasized that conflict is in no one’s interest and that developing countries are always the most economically affected in case of conflict. He “he underlined Pakistan’s belief that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.”
Prime Minister Khan reaffirmed the importance of the Pakistan-Stream gas pipeline as a flagship economic project between the two countries and also discussed cooperation on potential energy-related projects.
Earlier in the morning, the prime minister paid his respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, a memorial to Russians who perished in World War II.
But as the prime minister and his national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf, met with President Putin and his team, the rest of the cabinet members could be seen strolling through Red Square.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was constantly interacting with Pakistani journalists in Moscow or giving telephone interviews to news channels in his country.
Although there was no interaction with the press after the meeting between the two heads of government, press releases from both sides were issued after the meeting.
A readout on the official Kremlin website simply read: “The leaders of the two countries discussed the main aspects of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on current regional issues, including developments in South Asia.”
But as anticipated, nothing concrete has been agreed or signed that could be touted as a major successful outcome of the visit. Neither do the two press releases from both meetings mention any such agreement or even the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
The Prime Minister’s Advisor on Trade and Investment, Razak Dawood, told DawnNewsTV that the purpose of coming to Moscow was that Pakistan needed regional connectivity. “Beyond regional connectivity, we need trade, which is quite low with Russia,” he said.
Rejecting the notion that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could put Pakistan in trouble, he said such crises offer an opportunity for countries like Pakistan. “If sanctions are imposed on Russia, we will see how to proceed.”
The Minister of Energy, Hammad Azhar, opined that, regardless of the agreements that were signed in various energy projects, eventualities such as sanctions and other legal angles are covered. “All the decisions we make will be legal,” he said.
Washington’s ‘measured’ response
In a cautious response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow, the United States on Thursday reminded Islamabad that “all responsible countries” must express concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Asked to comment on Khan’s visit to Moscow at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “We are certainly aware of the trip, and the points I made earlier about the PRC (China) somehow apply.” here.”
Earlier in the briefing, Price reminded China that “every responsible country in the world has an obligation to use whatever leverage they have with the Russian Federation to urge, incentivize, advocate for Vladimir Putin to back down, for the Russian Federation to de-escalate.” ”.
“We have communicated to Pakistan our position regarding the new Russian invasion of Ukraine, and we have informed them of our efforts to pursue diplomacy on the war,” Price said.
The United States, he said, has had a long-standing partnership and cooperation with Pakistan and “we view our partnership with a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as fundamental to the interests of the United States.
The United States, he said, had a similar expectation of Pakistan on the Ukraine issue.
“We certainly hope, when it comes to those shared interests — costly conflict aversion, destabilizing conflict aversion — that every country in the world will make that point clearly clear in unambiguous language in their commitments to the Russian Federation.” the US official said
Asked if the United States saw the timing of the visit as an indirect endorsement of President Putin’s policies, Price said: “I would have to ask the Pakistani government what the intention is.
Perhaps it was in response to this that Pakistan’s information minister, in his measured interaction with the media in Moscow, said that Pakistan was moving forward bearing in mind the complexity of the situation.
“We are also in contact with the US and the prime minister is likely to visit Europe soon as well,” he said, adding that in the circumstances, postponing the planned trip to Russia would have been difficult.
Posted in Alba, February 25, 2022