Pakistan, Russia to open new chapter in bilateral ties


Yekaterinburg : Pakistan and Russia Tuesday pledged to open a new chapter in their relationship by boosting economic ties and jointly tackling the twin threats of terrorism and extremism.

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The decision came at a meeting between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit at a scenic resort some 20 km from this Russian industrial city, APP news agency reported.

The meeting, the first between the two leaders, came ahead of a trilateral summit also involving Afghanistan that Russia is hosting.

Both leaders were of the view that without joint collaborative efforts it was not possible to deal with the acts of violence and terrorism, APP said.

On his part, Medvedev said Russia would like to develop a full-fledged bilateral relationship with Pakistan in a congenial atmosphere and hoped Zardari’s visit would open a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

According to Zardari, the world had changed a lot in the last decade, making it imperative for nations to be inter-dependent to face the multifarious challenges that lay ahead.

He said it was collective responsibility, specially of close and even extended neighbours to help each other in dealing with the issues their countries are facing.

Noting that Pakistan was in Russia’s extended neighbourhood, Zardari said: “The time has come to address regional issues collectively.”

The two leaders also discussed the situation in the region, with a focus on building a strong relationship and for coordinated efforts in countering terrorism, drug trafficking and syndicated crime.

Zardari was also appreciative of Russian support to help Pakistan in acquiring the observer status in SCO.

The SCO regional grouping was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996. After the inclusion of Uzbekistan, the members renamed the organisation.

India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia are participating in the summit as observers.