ASTANA – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana on Friday.

The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, including trade and economic cooperation, and also current international issues during the meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan’s accession to the SCO.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin said: “I am glad that we met for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Pakistan was an important partner for Russia in South Asia.

He said Russian-Pakistani relations have been constructive and mutually beneficial. “Our relations are developing in many areas, and our trade has increased, even if only by a few percentage points. Of course, we are able to do much more than we are doing now.” President Putin said.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for supporting Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO.

“While in Ufa we did agree on improving Pakistan-Russian bilateral trade, there is an improvement but not the level that we agreed upon’ said PM Nawaz.

“It has been always my endeavour to build and strengthen our relationship and I am continuing to strive for that,” he added.

Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir were also present at the meeting. – APP