Russia Slams US Drone Policy In Pakistan

 @AmruthaGayathri
on October 05 2012 7:05 AM
Khar And Lavrov
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar shakes hands with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Islamabad Thursday. Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Thursday criticized the U.S. drone policy in Pakistan while extending full support to Islamabad’s stance on the attacks.

At a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, who described drone attacks as “illegal” and “counter-productive,” Lavrov said, "It is not right to violate the sovereignty and integrity of any state. We fully support Pakistan's stance.”

Despite both the ministers insisting on strengthening the ties between the two nations, the Pakistani media carried commentaries complaining about Russian President Vladimir Putin cancelling his scheduled visit to Pakistan.

Putin was expected to arrive in Islamabad Oct. 2 for a two-day visit which was cancelled, leading to the postponement of a quadrilateral summit of Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

In a letter sent to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Putin expressed his eagerness to “jointly enhance our efforts to further develop Russian-Pakistani ties and advance mutually beneficial trade and economic projects,” a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said.

“I am confident that in future we shall be able to find opportunities for arranging our personal meeting. We shall always be happy to receive you in Russia,” Putin wrote.

Lavrov's visit to Islamabad coincides with that of Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani's trip to Moscow, believed to build better defense cooperation.

The visits were being projected by the Pakistani officials as opportunities to reset the bilateral ties between Moscow and Islamabad.

Lavrov and Khar said both nations were working on a joint investment in steel and energy sectors and in combating drug smuggling.

Speaking about the India-Pakistan relations, Lavrov said that the two countries were capable of resolving issues on their own. "Russia welcomes the efforts of the two countries to resume dialogue and the steps toward confidence-building measures,” he said.

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