The volume of Russia-Pakistan trade in 2013 was to the tune of US $547 million, which decreased to US $474 million in 2014, but it is earnestly hoped that these figures would pick up once again. This was stated by Alexey Dedov, Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, in an interactive session with members of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA), the media, and the academia at the institute on Friday evening. While not citing a specific reason for this slight downturn, H.E. Ambassador Dedov nevertheless termed the decline a temporary phenomenon. Replying to a question about the proposed privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills, a project established wholly by the former Soviet Union, he said that in his recent meetings with the PSM officials, he had been told that the project was producing at 42 percent of its capacity which, under the present global economic conditions and Pakistan’s economic problems, was not a bad record. Dedov said he saw no prospects of, or need for, privatisation of the mill.
Turning to Yemen, he said the role of external players was not to bomb the country, but to mediate reconciliation between the warring factions and spare the locals of death and massacre. He reiterated that both, the presidents of Yemen and Ukraine, were elected in the most democratic and transparent of manners, and the coups that overthrew them were illegal.
On Afghanistan, H.E. Dedov said that before the US invasion that started 14 years ago, the northern part of the country was very peaceful but things have since gone awry and the whole of the country now remains mired in bloodshed.
He lauded Pakistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, advocating active cooperation between the Pakistani and Afghan defence and intelligence agencies to combat terrorism (see here).
He made another startling disclosure by telling the gathering that when the reunification of Germany was being discussed between Reagan and Gorbachev, it was decided by both parties that a reunified Germany could join Nato but that Nato would neither expand east nor west.
Dedov said that was a gentleman’s agreement between the US and the former USSR, but once the unification came about, in gross violation of this agreement, the US started frantically expanding both ways and roped in all the countries of the former communist bloc to form an anti-Soviet (later anti-Russia) military alliance.
When questioned as to what Russia was doing to cope with this threat, with all the former Soviet allies now hosting US missile bases, the ambassador said the Russian federation was still the world’s largest country area-wise and humbling it would be no cakewalk.
He made it clear that this US step was not ringing alarm bells in Moscow as, he said, contrary to Western propaganda, Russia’s military position was very strong. Besides, Dedov said there were countries in Russia’s neighbourhood, such as Finland, which were purely neutral and very friendly with Russia.
Then, he added, there were countries to the south-west that were very friendly with Russia, specifically naming Iran and also citing China as a very dependable ally.
To a question about the resolution of the Kashmir issue, all he said was:
There’s lots of potential for resolution of the Kashmir issue and we hope things will move in a positive direction.
Ambassador Dedov said Russia would work for a multi-polar world rather than a uni-polar one so that countries could have greater choice and leeway in their policies, rather than be subservient to the whims of just one dominant power.
On the recent nuclear accord between Iran and the West, he said that, for the moment, it was a win-win situation for Iran:
… but we should wait for the signing of the final roadmap.
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