Upon his arrival, the Foreign Minister was received by senior members of the Russian Foreign Ministry along with Pakistan’s Ambassador to Russia Shafqat Ali Khan.
The Foreign Minister had planned the official visit to Moscow from 29-30 January at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
The spokesperson of the Foreign Office, Mumtaz Zahra said in an official statement; “The Foreign Minister will hold official talks with his Russian counterpart where the two sides would deliberate upon the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchange views on the regional and international issues of mutual interest”
While addressing the press conference alongside Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, FM Bilawal Bhutto said; “all large-scale problems can be solved with diplomacy and the Ukrainian conflict is no exception, strong diplomacy of Ukraine with the Russian state will help achieve a peaceful solution,”.
The Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto was of the view that developing countries like Pakistan are facing the adverse consequences of the Ukraine conflict “in terms of its economic impact”.
The Minister further stressed that Pakistan considers Russia an important player in West, South, and Central Asia. The press conference elaborated on discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations and regional matters with his Russian counterpart.
In addition to trade and development, cooperation with Afghanistan for the sake of peace and stability would be worked upon as a common goal, the Foreign Minister emphasized. He acknowledged and thanked the Russian invitation for the official visit and asserted to continue high-level contact with the Russian Federation to contribute towards regional, and global stability.
The plan of an official visit to Moscow came after Russia agreed to supply crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Pakistan at a time when the country is facing a severe economic crisis. On January 19, the Russian delegation led by Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov visited Islamabad to discuss ways to improve mutual economic and trade relations, a key focus was on providing oil and gas to Pakistan at discounted rates. The two countries reached an agreement in collaboration with Pakistan-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
The Energy and Petroleum Ministers of the two countries in a joint ministerial meeting also emphasized that the official visit aims to finalize a framework for the purchase of Russian oil and LNG in March this year. Likewise, the payment for energy imports in the currencies of friendly countries was also expected to be discussed in the meeting.
Additionally, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also received a special message from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who considers Pakistan as Russia’s important partner in South Asia and the Islamic world. The message also highlighted Russia’s keen interest in enhancing the bilateral relationship, and increasing trade and investment between the two sides.
On the other hand, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar are expected to visit Washington soon in an effort to re-engage with the US. The Commerce Ministry is optimistic that this visit would help ease pressures on the ailing national economy.