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PM departs Norway for SCO, BRICS summits in Russia

OSLO: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday left Oslo for Ufa, Russia to attend the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit and the 7th BRICS summit.

Nawaz is expected to meet with participating leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the two-day visit.

Foreign Office has also confirmed that Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan would be meeting in Russian city Ufa on July 10.

“This meeting would have positive impact on bilateral ties, on international level and on regional level,” FO spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said at a news briefing.

“International community has deep interest in bilateral ties between India and Pakistan and world community has interest to see improvement in these ties,” the spokesman said.

He recalled that it has always been Prime Minister Nawaz’s policy to seek cordial and cooperative ties with all neighbouring countries including India.

It was in the pursuit of this objective that Nawaz Sharif would be meeting Modi, he said.

A comprehensive exchange on all issues of common interest is expected between the two leaders.

Earlier reports had said Indian PM Modi was going to raise India’s concerns regarding terrorism ─ including those about alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi who was allowed to walk free in April.

Pakistan will begin the process of joining the SCO security bloc at the summit this week.

The SCO Council of Foreign Ministers had at their last meeting approved Pakistani and Indi­an applications for consideration.

Pakistan had applied for the SCO membership in 2006, while India expressed its desire to join the grouping last year.

Although many have been interpreting the imminent SCO Council of Heads of States’ decision as Pakistan’s entry into the SCO, a diplomat, who wished not to be named, earlier said the process would be long drawn. “There would be no automatic admission, Pakistan would instead be required to meet certain requirements,” he said.

A senior Chinese diplomat on Monday said “…India and Pakistan’s admission to the SCO will play an important role in the SCO’s development, it will play a constructive role in pushing for the improvement of their bilateral relations.”

Nawaz Sharif is also expe­cted to witness the signing of a $2 billion deal with a Russian com­pany for the laying of an LNG gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore.

Talking about talks between the Afghan Taliban and officials of the Afghan government held in Islamabad the spokesman termed it as a break through and said it was first time that both sides had contacted eachother directly.

Commenting on self-styled Islamic State, the spokesman said Pakistani agencies are on alert to deal with any possible threat from extremist militant organisation.


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