Russia opens consulate in Peshawar

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Guests stand in honor of the national anthems of Russia and Pakistan at the inaugural ceremony. (AN photos)
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Russian Ambassador Alexey Yurievich Dedov (second from right in the first row) at the inaugural ceremony. (AN photos)
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Russian Ambassador Alexey Yurievich Dedov addressing the inaugural ceremony of the first Russian consulate in Peshawar. (AN photos)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Russia opens consulate in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Russia on Monday inaugurated its consulate in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
At the inauguration ceremony in Peshawar, Russian Ambassador Alexey Yurievich Dedov said his country and Pakistan have enjoyed 70 years of diplomatic relations.
Recent developments, including visits of Pakistani premiers to Russia, show that bilateral ties are improving, he added.
“Trade between the two countries has reached $541 million, and we want this to grow further. We need to give an additional push to the current dynamics,” he said, adding that the consulate is aimed at promoting bilateral friendship and cooperation in various sectors.
Mohammed Arshallah Khan, Russia’s honorary consul for KP, said the two countries are “natural allies” by geography and culture. “We need to give this a helping hand to make this friendship long-lasting,” he added.
In his address at the ceremony, KP Gov. Iqbal Zafar Jhagra said Russia “has had highs and lows in diplomatic relations with Pakistan,” and the inauguration of the consulate “is a new chapter” in those relations.
Former Pakistani Ambassador to Russia, Khalid Khattak, also addressed the ceremony, welcoming the consulate’s opening and expressing hope that it will promote bilateral ties.
Provincial Assembly members Shah Farman, Atif Khan and Sardar Hussain Babak were also present.
Dr. Sarfaraz Khan, director of the Area Study Center (Russia, China and Central Asia) at the University of Peshawar, told Arab News: “The opening of the consulate shows the paradigm shift in Pakistan’s policy.”
He added: “In the current situation, the US and India are allies. Meanwhile, an alliance is growing between Pakistan, China and Russia.”
Both the federal Pakistani government and KP’s provincial government are interested in closer ties with Russia under the prevailing circumstances, he said.
“Pakistan and Russia carried out joint military exercises in Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan) and also in Russia in 2017. The KP government has also signed an agreement with Russia to set up an oil refinery in Karak district. These activities show growing relations between Russia and Pakistan.”


41 people injured in Japan restaurant explosion

Updated 16 December 2018
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41 people injured in Japan restaurant explosion

  • The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido
  • Police said 41 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition

TOKYO: More than 40 people were injured in an explosion Sunday night at a restaurant in northern Japan, police said.
The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido.
Police said 41 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The cause of the explosion, which occurred at a two-story restaurant in Sapporo’s Toyohira district, is under investigation, police said, adding that they had no further details.
TV footage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed the restaurant in flames, with debris scattered on the ground.
The footage showed gray smoke billowing from the restaurant as dozens of firefighters poured water onto the building, which was charred and nearly collapsing. Windows on an apartment building next door were broken.
A witness told NHK that he smelled gas after the sound of an explosion.