ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will visit Russia on July 9 (Thursday) to attend meetings of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), providing him an opportunity to interact with regional leaders.
During the two-day visit to the Russian city Ufa, the Prime Minister will lead the Pakistani delegation at the SCO’s Meeting of the Heads of States Council – the highest decision-making body. The meeting will consider applications for full membership to the grouping.
Pakistan has been making substantive contribution to regional peace, security and development in its capacity as an Observer State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Foreign Office statement said.
The SCO is an important organization founded in Shanghai in 2001. Its members include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia have observer status.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a news briefing in Beijing that more countries have evinced interest in joining the SCO. “India and Pakistan’s admission to the SCO will play an important role in the SCO’s development it will play a constructive role in pushing for the improvement of their bilateral relations,” he said.
The Prime Minister, at the invitation of the Russian President, will also attend the Outreach meeting in Ufa of the leaders of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, SCO Member and Observer States, Eurasian Economic Union Members, and Turkmenistan.
The meetings of SCO and BRICS would also be attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However officials of both Pakistan and India have not ruled out the possibility of a meeting between the two leaders.
“The Prime Minister will also hold important bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the SCO Summit,” a statement from the Foreign Office said, without releasing details of the meetings.
The Foreign Office spokesman told reporters at the weekly briefing in Islamabad that “no side has contacted the other for a meeting so far.”
“However as you would be aware, in any multilateral setting meetings among Heads of State and Government is a normal feature,” the spokesman said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the SAARC’s Kathmandu summit in November last year.
However both sides have not been able to make any headway towards holding a structured dialogue.
The 7th BRICS summit will discuss economic cooperation among members while the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit will discuss important regional issues particularly related to security and economy.