MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Moscow on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced.
This is the first visit of the Pakistani minister to Russia since he took office.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the two ministers will discuss the state of bilateral relations, regional and international issues. As the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier, particular attention will be paid to the development of trade and economic relations.
The ministerial meeting is taking place in the context of an intensive work by Russian and Pakistani companies to resolve all remaining issues related to energy supplies to Pakistan.
Following the meeting of the Russian-Pakistani intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation held in Islamabad on January 18-20, the parties decided to agree on oil and gas supplies from Russia until the end of March 2023.
As Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik said earlier, Pakistan will start buying crude oil from Russia in April after it agrees on all commercial terms for its imports. Among these terms he named payments in Pakistani national currency. According to his estimates, the agreement with Moscow will allow Islamabad to cover up to 35% of its crude oil needs.
The Russian ministry noted that following the results of the work of the Russian-Pakistani intergovernmental commission, the parties agreed to discuss a comprehensive plan for energy cooperation, which provides not only for the supply of energy carriers, but also for the construction of infrastructure.
One of the key issues of cooperation between the two countries is the North-South gas pipeline project, the parties had previously decided to rename into Pakistan Stream.
In January, the Russian Energy Ministry reported that Moscow sees no obstacles to the implementation of this project and is working on an appropriate road map with Islamabad.
The countries signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the North-South gas pipeline in 2015. Its length will be 1,100 km, and its throughput capacity will be up to 12.4 billion cubic meters per year. The gas pipeline is to link terminals for receiving liquefied natural gas in the city of Karachi in southern Pakistan with the city of Lahore in the north. Power plants running on LNG should be built there.
The parties were supposed to sign commercial agreements in 2016, and it was planned to hand over the facility by 2018, but the project implementation dates have already been postponed several times. On May 28, 2021, Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov and Pakistani Ambassador to the Russian Federation Shafqat Ali Khan signed a protocol amending the intergovernmental agreement dated October 16, 2015 on the construction of the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline, which made it possible to proceed to the practical implementation of the project.
By tradition, the international agenda of talks between the two countries includes cooperation in the counter-terrorism sphere, settlement of the conflict between Palestine and Israel, situation in Afghanistan. The parties also exchange views on the Ukrainian crisis.
On January 28, following an escalation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the international "quartet" of Middle East mediators (Russia, the United States, the UN and the EU), is ready to make a significant contribution to its comprehensive settlement. The aggravation of the situation, including the January 27 armed attack on a synagogue in East Jerusalem, confirms the need to urgently resume a constructive Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and renounce unilateral actions, the Russian Foreign Ministry believes.