FM Bilawal Bhutto to begin first official visit to Russia from Sunday

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will undertake an official visit to Moscow from 29-30 January at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement on Saturday.
“The foreign minister will hold official talks with his Russian counterpart where the two sides would deliberate upon the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchange views on the regional and international issues of mutual interest,” stated the press release.
The visit by the foreign minister comes almost a week after Pakistan and Russia reached an agreement on the supply of Russian crude oil and other oil products in a major breakthrough at a time when the country is facing a severe economic crunch.
The two sides reached an agreement after the Pakistan-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation concluded.
Pakistan would finalise the framework for the purchase of Russian oil in March this year and make the payment for its energy imports in the currencies of friendly countries, energy and petroleum ministers of the two countries said after a joint ministerial meeting.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had received a special message from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who views Pakistan as Russia’s key partner in South Asia and the Islamic world, reiterating his country’s keen interest in deepening bilateral relationship as well as increasing trade and investment between the two sides.
Through the special message, the Russian energy minister conveyed that President Putin referred to “Pakistan as Russia’s important partner in South Asia and the Islamic World [and] reiterated Russia’s strong interest to deepen the bilateral relationship”.