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Pakistan and Russia hold first-ever consultation


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia held their first ever consultation in Islamabad on Wednesday , the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement, adding that a wide range of regional issues and key areas of mutual interest including economic cooperation and connectivity were discussed.

"The two sides exchanged views on important global and regional developments.It was also decided that the next round of consultations will be convened in Moscow in 2017," it added.

Director general (West Asia), ministry of foreign affairs, Ahmad Hassain Dayo, led the Pakistani side while Alexander V Sternik, third CIS department head at the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, led the delegation from Moscow.

In September, Russian and Pakistani troops had held their first-ever joint military exercises in the special services group (SSG) training centre in Cherat in Khy ber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The joint drill, named `Friendship 2016', was seen as a step in the growing military-to-military cooperation between the two countries that remained rivals for decades during the Cold War.

Pakistan's decision to develop closer ties to Russia was taken after the 2011 killing of al-Qaida chief, Osama bin laden, in a secret military operation by US in Abbottabad, followed by the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers the same year in Nato airstrikes on a check post along the Durand Line, Pakistan's disputed border with Afghanistan. Following the two incidents, a joint session of the parliament approved new foreign policy guidelines, which included reaching out to Russia.

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