Russian Foreign Ministry: Relations with Pakistan is one of priority issues in Russia's foreign policy

Russia intends to expand further its trade and economic relations with Pakistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov plans to discuss issues concerning the present state and prospects of trade and economic bilateral relations in the course of his forthcoming visit to Islamabad on June 15th, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Aleksander Yakovenko told a RIA Novosti correspondent.

"Both sides believe that the present trade turnover does not correspond to their capabilities," Yakovenko stressed. Moscow believes there is a high potential of technical co-operation on the facilities constructed with Russia's assistance, such as, for instance, the steel factory in Karachi.

Moscow believes that Russia and Pakistan will be able to jointly determine in the near future the promising directions of bilateral co-operation in the spheres of energy, metallurgy, telecommunications, air and space industry, in the development and implementation of various infrastructure projects.

"Pakistan has an important special place among Russia's foreign policy priorities, determined by the country's political weight both in the region adjacent to the CIS southern borders and the Islamic world as a whole," Yakovenko noted.

"Moscow positively assesses the recent boost of Russo-Pakistani relations, which includes discussions of bilateral, regional as well as international issues," Yakovenko said. According to him, a special role in this process "was played by the meetings of the two countries' leaders: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Pakistani counterpart General Pervez Musharraf in Almaty in June, 2002 and during Musharraf's official visit to Moscow in February 2003." The forthcoming visit of Igor Ivanov to Pakistan is aimed at implementation of the agreements earlier achieved at the top level, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. Moscow intends to continue its co-operation with Islamabad in order to overcome the present discords and to develop multidimensional and mutually beneficial relations, without any harm to the relations with its traditional partners, Yakovenko said.

According to him, Moscow believes that "the improvement of the constructive interaction with Pakistan will help establish a multi-polar world system and to ensure strategic stability and security for all members of the international community." In the course of his visit, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov plans to meet President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali and his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid M. Kasuri.

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