Pakistani president to visit Russia in mid-May

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will pay an official visit to Russia on May 11-14, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

The visit will take place on an invitation from President Dmitry Medvedev, the presidential press service said, adding that talks between Medvedev and Zardari will take place on May 12.

The visit was announced just days after world’s most wanted terrorism Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid on his compound 50 kilometers from the Pakistani capital.

Islamabad has both praised and criticized Monday’s operation by U.S. troops on its territory, which the Pakistani government was not told about until it was over. In a statement on Wednesday, Pakistan expressed “its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the government of the United States carried out this operation without prior information or authorization from the government of Pakistan.”

A cradle of the Taliban movement, Pakistan allied with the United States when U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan in a hunt for bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Russia has expressed its readiness to support Pakistan in its fight against terrorism. Last March, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for an international assistance to the Pakistani government in combating terrorist activity.

However, the Russian government has reiterated that it will not develop military cooperation with Pakistan, taking into account the concerns of India, a major purchaser of Russia’s military equipment.

MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti)


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