Russia, Pakistan Leaders Pledge To Increase Cooperation

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met with his visiting Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, in Moscow.

Speaking at the meeting on May 12, Medvedev called for the development of economic cooperation.

“We have taken some steps in that direction recently but there is a lot more that needs to be done, in many areas,” he said. “I hope the [cooperation] documents that we are signing today will help the development of our economic ties.”

Medvedev also pledged to coordinate efforts in the fight against terrorism, adding: “We have to do everything so that we can jointly counter this main evil of the 21st century.”

Zardari said the time had come to “acknowledge the importance of our countries for each other and the importance of our cooperation.”

During the four-day visit, Zardari and Medvedev are also expected to discuss energy cooperation, including Russia’s participation in a proposed natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India that would cross Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Moscow is not usually seen as an ally of Islamabad, not least because of its historically close ties to Pakistan’s traditional foe India.

Tensions also still linger over the Pakistani secret service’s backing of mujahedeen insurgents against Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

But at a rare summit in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi last year, which also included Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the four states agreed to pursue joint economic projects to help bring stability to the volatile region.

compiled from agency reports

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