Bhutto Zardari and Lavrov meet in Moscow to shore up bilateral ties

Pakistan and Russia will continue to cooperate in multiple areas, including energy, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told reporters after talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on Monday.

Bhutto Zardari said he expected other countries not to interfere in the Russo-Pakistani bilateral relations.

He added that the planned Pakistan Stream pipeline from the port of Karachi to Lahore, to be built with Russian assistance, would be instrumental in the unity government’s commitment “to meet the energy needs … of the people of Pakistan”.

“Indeed, we’ve had and continue to have detailed conversations on energy cooperation between Pakistan and Russia. As you may be aware, Pakistan faces severe energy crises and problems. We are faced with exorbitant import bills as far as hydrocarbons are concerned. And I am expecting positive progress on our discussions between Pakistan and Russia on energy cooperation. (On) the recent visit to Pakistan, also, I have received incredibly positive feedback on the topic. And as far as the other countries (are concerned), I expect them not to interfere in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia,” Zardari said.

Lavrov in turn said he believed the United States would interfere regardless, referring to Western “colleagues” who he said were responsible for the “terrorist attacks” against the Nord Stream pipelines. Russia has repeatedly blamed the West for the explosions that put the pipelines out of action last year.

“The question (of Pakistan Stream pipeline construction) is at the advanced stage of development. I am sure that additional progress will be confirmed very soon. But, in this respect, I would like to elaborate on what was said in the question (addressed) to my colleague regarding U.S. guarantees not to put obstacles in the way of our energy deals. Of course, they will hinder (them). The United States publicly, shamelessly, arrogantly enough tells everybody that no one should deal with Russia,” Lavrov said.

Sweden and other European investigators say the attacks were carried out on purpose, but they have not said who they think was responsible.

The meeting between Lavrov and Zardari was held at a time when a deadly bombing targeted a mosque in Peshawar, killing at least 50 people, according to Pakistani media reports.