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Russia opens consulate in Peshawar

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