CPEC is a great project of economics and connectivity: Mr. Alexey Dedov

Lahore: The Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Alexey Dedov  said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a great project and Russia has plans to merge the One belt one Road (OBOR) with its initiative of Eurasian Economic Union.  “Our treatment is positive and we know that certain countries have concerns about it. “But we have been working through diplomacy to convince the countries with concerns that political issues should not stand between economic welfare of the people of our countries,” said Mr Dadov.

Talking to reporters at the Lahore Press Club on Saturday Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov said that the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Russia would be celebrated throughout the country. About the probability of better commercial aviation connectivity between the two countries, he said that there had been discussions in the inter-governmental commissions, interactions and there has been a very effective mechanism created to look into the possibility of such improvements. About military cooperation and joint exercises between the two countries, he said it has been a very good experience and that these friendly activities would continue.

Responding to a question regarding how Russia sees the allegations of terrorism against Pakistan by India and Russia, he said that we know that relations between Pakistan and India have a very long history, both positive and negative. These kinds of accusations are typical of both sides regarding cross-border aggression and interference into each other’s internal affairs. But reality of these accusations could be measured through how convincing the arguments they extend.

has said that the current American policy to seek a solution to the Afghan issue through force does not make sense. There is no alternative to a peaceful diplomatic Afghan-owned Afghan-led solution to the issue and the role of Pakistan in this regard is very important, even ‘very crucial’. He was addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club in connection with the 70th anniversary of Pakistan-Russia diplomatic relations. He said Russia had coordinated with Pakistan on bilateral basis to make efforts for providing favourable conditions for an intra-Afghan settlement of its issues through an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led process.

The ambassador said that both Pakistan and Russia have had a diverse range of bilateral experiences with both highs and lows. However, the relationship between the two countries started improving at a faster pace after the visit of Nawaz Sharif to Russia in 1999. He said that the past five years have seen a significant boost in the bilateral cooperation in various fields including combating terrorism, regional politics and anti-narcotics efforts. There is tremendous potential for even better relations between the two countries, he added. About the recent Trump policy regarding Afghanistan, he said that Russia did not understand the principles of the American strategy in Afghanistan. They lay emphasis on solving the issue through use of force, though his country believes in solving the issue through negotiations.

“There is no alternative to an all-inclusive process for solving the Afghanistan issue,” he said adding that the US and its allies had over 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and they could do nothing in terms of curbing terrorism. “Major narcotics trafficking and a considerable part of terrorism originate from Afghanistan unfortunately, despite all efforts of the Afghan government which is a sad reality,” said the Russian ambassador. He said that the Moscow format was set up by Russia, China and Pakistan and later India also joined in, but there are also other formats like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Istanbul Process where all stakeholders of the Afghan issue could sort out their concerns and work towards a solution.

He said there have been instances where Russia mediated peace agreements between Pakistan and India like the Tashkent Agreement. Russia’s current role in this regard would be of creating a favorable atmosphere of coordination between the two countries. However, to formally play the role of a mediator, there should be a request from both sides, which has not been made so far. He said that both governments are working to boost bilateral student exchange and better visa polices to facilitate them. About investment opportunities in Pakistan, he said there were certain historical legal embargos that need to be sorted out before the foreign direct investment (FDI) at the government level can commence. However, private Russian investors are engaging with the Pakistani government, he added.

Russian trade representative in Pakistan, Yury Kozlov, Honorary Consul of Russian Federation Habib Ahmed and Dr Shahid were also present on the occasion. Vice President Lahore Press Club Shakeel Saeed hosted the ambassador at the club. Mr Dadov planted a sapling at the Lahore Press Club and said that he would consider setting up a student scholarship for studies in Russia for the children of journalists.

Mr.  Alexey Dedov has said that his country will be using footballs manufactured in the Pakistani city of Sialkot for use in matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup scheduled to be held in Russia this summer, Express News reported on Sunday. “Pakistan is one of the most renowned countries in the world in the manufacture of sport equipment,” Dedov was quoted as saying.  “We want to enhance our cooperation with Pakistan to other sectors as well,” he added.  The city of Sialkot is famous all over the world for producing the finest quality of sport goods. Footballs manufactured in the country have also been a part of the foot balling extravaganza since a long time.

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