ISLAMABAD, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Pakistan hopes to bring its trade with Russia up from the current 300 million U.S. dollars to one billion U.S. dollars a year, Farhatulla Babar, the spokesman for the Pakistani president, told journalists after a Dushanbe meeting between presidents of Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
According to Babar, during a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari stressed the necessity to further expand bilateral relations and promote cooperation in the areas of trade, science and technology.
Babar also said the Pakistani president had put forth an initiative to create a mechanism of permanent dialogue with Russia at the level of foreign ministers, who should meet in Islamabad and Moscow by turns in order to give an impetus to bilateral cooperation.
“The president of Pakistan hailed Russia’s interest in participating in regional energy projects, such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, the prospecting for oil and gas fields and the construction of hydropower plants,” he said. The spokesman also said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Zardari had said Russian banks were welcome to open offices and branches in his country. The Pakistani leader also suggested Russia’s second largest city St. Petersburg and Pakistan’s capital Karachi should be declared twin cities to encourage bilateral cooperation in the area of culture.