ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has said that there is a national consensus in Pakistan on building strong relationship with the Russian Federation and government attaches great importance to its relations with Russia.

The prime minister made these remarks while welcoming a delegation of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation led by Ms Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Council at Prime Minister House on Thursday. Russian Ambassador in Pakistan Andrey Bundnik also accompanied the chairperson.

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said Russia was a source of peace and stability at both regional and global level and its growing power was a positive development for a multi-polar world of the present day.

The prime minister further said that there had been a visible expansion in the bilateral relations as well as economic cooperation between the two countries and Pakistan greatly valued Russia’s interest to invest in the energy sector of Pakistan. He added that there was a vast potential for increasing the bilateral trade further.

“There is a national consensus in Pakistan on building strong relationship with the Russian Federation and we attach great importance to our relations with Russia. Both the countries have initiated a process of building a broad-based long-term partnership. We greatly value the support and assistance of Russian Federation in the war against terrorism,” said the prime minister.

Ms Valentina Matvienko thanked the prime minister for meeting the delegation and said that Pakistan was an important partner of Russia and played a significant role in international relations.

She added that the exchange of visits of the parliamentary delegations of both the countries would help in further strengthening the bilateral relations. She said that some 2,000 Pakistani students had graduated from Russian universities and Russia would welcome more students from Pakistan.

The prime minister said that the parliaments of both the countries could certainly play an important role in enhancing the relationship further between the two countries. He added that Pakistan was an ideal country for foreign investors and Russian investors must be encouraged to invest in Pakistan.

The prime minister thanked the Russian Federation for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) for expansion and modernisation of Pakistan Steel Mills and expressed the hope that the work would be completed on time.

The chairperson of the council conveyed the best wishes of Russian President Putin to the prime minister.

The delegation included Mr Ilyas Umakhanov, Deputy Chairman of the Council, Mr Valery Ryazanskly, Chairman of the Committee on Social Policy of the Council of the Federation, Mr Vadim Tyalpanov, Chairman of the Committee on Regulations and Management of Parliamentary Activity, Ms Natalya Udalova, Head of the Sectt of the Chairperson, Mr Mlkkhail Kalinin, Head of the Department of International Relation, Mr Alexander Chlkin and Mr Konovalov.