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Pakistan, Russia to improve ties as India, US getting closer — ex-FM

October 26, 2015, 11:33 UTC+3 NEW DELHI
Russia has played an important role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) decision to admit Pakistan along with India as full member at the July summit in Russia’s Ufa
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Former Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri

Former Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri

© Shashank Parade/Press Trust of India via AP

NEW DELHI, October 26. /TASS/. Russia and Pakistan will inevitably improve ties as this is a natural process amid the emergence of new areas of common interest, Pakistan's former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has told TASS.

"I had predicted even before, that our relationship with Russia would improve as Washington was getting closer to India, that was a natural consequence," Kasuri said in an exclusive interview with TASS.

Pakistan understands the need to improve ties with Russia, which will become an important player after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. "It is in our common interest to keep Afghanistan peaceful and stable."

"There is scope for enhanced cooperation within Pakistan and Russia," the diplomat said.

Membership in SCO thanks to Russia

The politician said Russia has played an important role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) decision to admit Pakistan along with India as full member at the July summit in Russia’s Ufa. The membership will be finalized in 2016.

"I think Russia encouraged Pakistan joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. China did but if Russia had wanted, Pakistan would never become member of SCO and only observer, so it was Russia's cooperation that we are members."

"Russia also wanted Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation because Russia realised that Pakistan can always play a very important role in areas," he said.

Instability in Central Asia and Afghanistan hurts Russia and Pakistan equally. "We are the prime targets of terrorism if you leave Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan. After that, we are the prime targets of terrorism, so we have a very common interest to Russia and Pakistan."

Earlier this month, Kasuri, who was Pakistan’s foreign minister from November 2002 until November 2007, presented his first book in India titled "Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove: An Insider's Account of Pakistan's Foreign Relations."

In the book, the diplomat named the goals of Pakistan in boosting partnership with Russia that are yet to be achieved, including in the oil and gas, space and metallurgic spheres, and also military and technical cooperation and bilateral trade.

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