Imran Khan
Imran Khan Image Credit: New York Times

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday described as “speculative” media reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Russia where his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will be the main guest.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Prime Minister Modi to take part in the EEF in the port city of Vladivostok from September 4 to 6.

Pakistani media last week reported that Khan has accepted Putin’s invitation, which was extended last month during a conversation between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek.

Taking to Twitter to clarify the matter, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal on Tuesday termed reports regarding Khan’s participation in the EEF as “speculative”.

“Reports appearing in media about Prime Minister’s participation in Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Russia are speculative.

“Pakistan and Russia remain in contact about engagement at the highest level. Any announcement in this regard would be made formally at appropriate time,” Faisal tweeted.

Several world leaders are expected to attend the event, which has been held annually since 2015 in the Far East Russian city.

The EEF serves as a platform for discussion on important issues in global economy, regional integration and development. It also seeks to encourage foreign investment in the major port city.

Pakistan’s ties with Russia have moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities. The two countries in August last year inked an agreement allowing Pakistani troops to train in Russia. The two armies have been holding ‘Friendship’ drills since 2016.

In December 2018, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Russia and Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa was in Moscow prior to that and met top Russian military officials.

Russian Ground Force Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov visited Pakistan last week and held talks with Bajwa and discussed ways to enhance security and training cooperation besides taking measures to further expand bilateral military ties, said a statement of Pakistan army’s media wing the Inter-Services Public Relations.