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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia and Pakistan Pledge To Build on Economic Ties

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan and Russia pledged to boost economic ties and signed two cooperation agreements Thursday during the first visit to Pakistan by a Russian prime minister.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz oversaw the signing of agreements on narcotics control and cultural cooperation after talks in the capital, Islamabad.

"Russia is a global player and we want to expand and enhance relations between our countries. This will have to proceed step by step so we build the relations on a stronger and long-term foundation," Aziz told reporters at a briefing with Fradkov.

Pakistan and Russia had agreed to finalize a bilateral investment treaty as soon as possible and also aimed for an agreement to avoid double taxation to facilitate their private sectors, Aziz said.

Aziz said they had also discussed the possibility of using Iran to cut the transit time for goods between Russia and Pakistan. He did not elaborate.

Trade between Pakistan and Russia in 2005-06 was worth $512 million, heavily tilted in Russia's favor, with $459 million of exports to Pakistan, official figures show.

Fradkov said the potential existed for much more. "Today we want to send a clear signal to our business community that they need to intensify their relations," Fradkov said, speaking through an interpreter, on the second day of a three-day visit.