Pakistan said today it welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's "intention" to play a role in helping resolve its bilateral differences with India. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria during a weekly briefing was asked that reportedly during his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SCO Summit, Putin offered mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve their issues. "Pakistan welcomes UNSC Permanent Member Russia's attention and intention to play a role in this longstanding issue on the UNSC agenda," he said. Zakarai said Putin was a world leader and a statesman and Pakistan would extend a very warm welcome to him when he decides to visit the country. Talking about ties with Russia, Zakarai said Pakistan- Russia relation was following a positive trajectory. "Both sides have signed defence agreement, held joint military exercises and Russia is investing USD 2 billion in South-North gas pipeline project.
There is tremendous scope for enhancing ties further, particularly in political, economic and trade, energy, defense, culture and education fields," he said. Zakarai said there was a growing realisation and concern among the regional countries and the UN on the threat to peace in the region "due to Indian unprovoked hostility on the LoC and Working Boundary." "Indian attempts to distract the world attention from the brutalities its occupation forces have unleashed on unarmed Kashmiris have endangered peace and security in the Sub- Continent and beyond," he alleged. To a question about External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement that Pakistan cannot take Kashmir issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), he said Pakistan was a sovereign country and reserves the right to take up any matter at any forum it deemed appropriate. "As for Kashmir, it is an internationally recognised dispute and outstanding on the UNSC agenda. Pakistan's position is consistent that we call for an early implementation of the relevant UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir, which promise the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people under a UN supervised plebiscite," he said.
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