It is an honour and a privilege for me to address to the newspaper’s readers as well as Pakistani people as a whole on the auspicious occasion of the Day of Russia, which our country celebrates on June 12, 2009. On this very day nineteen years ago the First Congress of People’s Deputies of the then Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic passed the resolution proclaiming its sovereignty which a year later became a foundation for establishment of the Russian Federation as an independent and democratic state.
Our basic priorities nowadays are to address the after-effects of the global economic and financial crisis, to further economic reforms, to create an effective and competitive market economy, to ensure the human rights and enhance the role of the civil society and good governance.
Proactively safeguarding its national interests in the world arena, the Russian Federation is consistently upgrading its stance within the international community and has definitely established itself as one of the world's leading nations. Our activities are guided by the new Concept of Foreign Policy, which has provided continuity to the country's foreign policy at this crucial stage of world development. Its vital principals are pragmatism, multi-track approach, compatible with non-confrontational promotion of our national interests, which helps to set a positive international agenda.
Russia and Pakistan are bound together by historical ties of friendship and respect, mutual sympathy and esteems as well as similarities in their approaches to principal issues of the contemporary international politics. Both countries are convinced supporters of a multipolar and balanced international order as a precondition to further peaceful development of all countries over the world.
As you can see, Russia is confident in Pakistan’s capacity to move forward. I wish to take this opportunity to praise Pakistan’s strains in maintaining peace, security and stability, promoting its economy and human resources and enhancing the prestige of the country in the region, as well as globally. I also wish to mention a joint struggle against our common threat - international terrorism. Russia appreciates the role Pakistan plays in antiterrorist coalition and its efforts to combat extremism and terrorism. We do realise that it is not an easy task for the Pakistani leadership and do support its policies aimed at the preserving unity and stability of the country.
Undoubtedly, the world financial crisis couldn’t help but affecting our bilateral relations especially in cultural and tourist spheres resulting in drastical decrease of the number of tourists and businessmen visiting both countries. Still, there are some favorable signs emerge this year. Last March a delegation of the Russian State Duma (Parliament) visited Pakistan. In Karachi it had a meeting with Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, the Speaker of Sindh Assembly, as well as the leadership of the FPCCI and local businessmen. Bilateral trade turnover reached $615.6 million in 2008. That is 1.7 times higher than in 2007. A number of photo exhibitions dedicated to the past and the present history of the Russian Federation, “Year of family”, “Victory Day” went off successfully in Russian Friendship House in Karachi. A large significance for strengthening mutual understanding and boosting people-to-people contacts has an agreement on "The Programme of Cultural, Educational and Scientific Exchanges between Pakistan and Russian Federation for 2007-2009".
It is worth mentioning that our countries have a substantial potential for the development of our relations which lies not only in a traditional trade but also in an economic cooperation. In this regard our joint priority is to substantially broaden economic component of mutual relations. There is a vast yet untapped potential for developing joint projects in different fields ranging from exploration of oil and gas to upgrading of Paksteel Mills, motor and rail transport development, production of chemical fertilisers, machines and trucks. Russia is capable to deliver complete set of equipment, modern industrial technologies and render technical assistance at a competitive price and of a proper quality. Russian companies could have increased their supply of crops, particularly wheat, along with agritechnologies to increase an efficiency of farming production.
Pakistan is considering Russia as one of its major export countries and offers an increase in the volume of traditional export produce such as textile, rice, fruits, carpets, footwear and furniture. Some companies are ready to enter the Russian market and export cement and marble. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan proactively engaged in exchange of business and trade delegations between our countries. Besides, I hope that newly established Pakistan Russian Business Forum would push forward trade relations and strengthen bilateral business contacts, making them more effective to our mutual benefit.
With the help of the Consulate's staff, our fellows from the Trade Mission and the Cultural Center I will do my best to realise projects meant to enhance cooperation in trade, economic and cultural spheres, which I am confident would be beneficial to the interests of the peoples of our countries, regional stability and security.
Availing this opportunity I would like to extend my deep gratitude to all who have contributed to the publication of this special Supplement as well as the best wishes of success, peace and prosperity to the Government and friendly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.