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Tuesday Jun 15 2021

Pakistan requests to procure 5 mn doses of Russia's Sputnik vaccine

A vial labelled "Sputnik V Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in this photo, March 12, 2021. REUTERS/Illustration/Dado Ruvic/Files.

  • Back in March, Russia had offered to help Pakistan in procuring the vaccine. 
  • The first shipment of 50,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived in Pakistan in March for the private sector.
  • The Sputnik V vaccine proved to be a popular choice among Pakistanis who bought it.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has requested Russia to assist it in the procurement of five million more doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, The News reported Tuesday.

The request was made by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday during a telephonic conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

Qureshi reaffirmed that relations with Russia were a key priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy. During his visit to Islamabad in April this year, Lavrov had said: “We have a number of foreign partners to produce these vaccines. So these vaccines can be supplied to Pakistan. As much as we can, we will be helping Pakistan to cover the demand “.

The first shipment of 50,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived in Pakistan in March for the private sector and turned out to be extremely popular among those who bought it. 

During the call, the two foreign ministers exchanged views on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, said the Foreign Office.

Russia has also recently lifted the ban on the import of rice from Pakistan — a move welcomed by Pakistan. Qureshi told Lavrov that Pakistan hoped that joint mechanisms such as political consultations, Pakistan-Russia IGC, and various other Joint Working Groups meetings would resume once the COVID-19 situation had normalised.

He said Lavrov’s recent visit to Pakistan reflected the keenness of both sides to deepen their long-term multidimensional partnership. Qureshi said Pakistan-Russia relations had made impressive progress over the past two decades and both must continue to capitalize on their cooperation.

He further said an important development since Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit was the signing of a protocol on amendments to the Inter-Governmental Agreement for the development of the North-South Gas Pipeline Project (Pakistan Stream) adding that it would pave way for early commencement of the project.

The two foreign ministers stressed the importance of follow-up action on the decisions made during the recent visits to transform these into tangible outcomes.

Both sides agreed to work closely for an early negotiated political settlement of the Afghan issue. Meanwhile, Pakistan was Monday elected as a regular member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).