Pakistan on Saturday reiterated its call for de-escalation in the Ukraine conflict, as the war puts Islamabad in a difficult situation vis-à-vis its relations with Moscow and the West.
The issue was discussed in telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Russian counterpart Sergeĭ Lavrov, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
It said that Qureshi, while underlining Pakistan’s concern over the latest situation in Ukraine, underscored the need for a diplomatic solution in accordance with the relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and provisions of the United Nations Charter.
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The telephonic conversation came as the West, the US in particular, had informed Pakistan that the war in Ukraine could have both regional and global consequences, calling on Islamabad to take a clear stance against Moscow.
So far, Pakistan has maintained a neutral stance -- neither condemning Russia nor supporting Ukraine.
“Qureshi highlighted that Pakistan had emphasised fundamental principles of UN Charter, called for de-escalation, and underscored the need for a diplomatic solution in accordance with the relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and provisions of the UN Charter,” the statement said.
During the talks, Qureshi told Lavrov that he had shared Pakistan’s principled position in his recent phone conversations with the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Hungary and the High Representative of the European Union.
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He said that he stressed the importance of finding a solution through dialogue and diplomacy. He expressed the hope that the talks initiated between Russia and Ukraine would succeed in finding a diplomatic solution.
Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasised that safe and swift return of Pakistani citizens from Ukraine remained the government’s top-most priority and requested for the Russian government’s assistance and facilitation in this regard.
Lavrov shared Russia’s perspective on the situation, as he referred to the opening of the “humanitarian corridor”, and underlined Russia’s readiness for the next round of talks with the Ukrainian side. Foreign Minister assured Qureshi of full support on the evacuation of the Pakistanis from Ukraine.
Qureshi and Lavrov also discussed bilateral relations and the regional situation. Recalling his recent visit to Russia as part of the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s delegation, Qureshi stated that the two sides had held wide-ranging talks on key subjects on bilateral agenda and the region including Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Lavrov conveyed that the Russian side would be following-up on the important bilateral matters discussed and that the two sides would continue to work together on promoting shared goals of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Lavrov also conveyed his “deepest condolences over the loss of life in the terrorist attack on a mosque in Peshawar” on Friday and stressed Russia’s condemnation of terrorism in all forms,” the Foreign Office statement said.
The two foreign ministers agreed to remain in close contact.
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