Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit on Tuesday (today) for talks on bilateral and regional matters, with special focus on both countries’ cooperation to push for a political solution to the Afghan conflict. Lavrov will lead a 13-member delegation that also includes Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and several other senior officials, according to a list of the delegates seen by Daily Times. Russia hosted representatives of the Taliban, Afghan government and other Afghan political leaders at a meeting of the extended troika nearly two weeks ago. The extended troika, comprising representatives of Russia, China, US and Pakistan, focused on making progress in intra-Afghan peace process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The Foreign Office said on Monday the Russian foreign minister will have delegation-level talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. He will also call on Prime Minister Imran Khan and have interaction with other dignitaries. The Foreign Office statement said during the talks between the two foreign ministers, the entire gamut of Pakistan-Russia relations will be reviewed and ways discussed to further broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. The two foreign ministers will also exchange views on regional and international issues. Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit is part of the growing interaction and regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the Russian Federation. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had met Foreign Minister Lavrov on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Bishkek in June 2019 and the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Moscow in September 2020. “Pakistan and Russia enjoy friendly and cooperative relations based on mutual respect, trust and understanding. Bilateral cooperation is growing across a wide range of areas of common interest including in security and defence, counter-terrorism, and the Afghan peace process. Over the recent past, deepening collaboration in economic, trade and energy sectors has been the focus of the two governments,” the FO statement said, adding that the visit of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will contribute to further deepening of the multifaceted bilateral relationship and enhancing mutual understanding on regional and global issues. Earlier, the Russia Foreign Ministry said there are plans to conduct a detailed discussion in Pakistan on the current status of bilateral relations and their development prospects, including opportunities for further strengthening trade, economic and counter-terrorism cooperation. “They will conduct an in-depth exchange of views on topical matters concerning the regional and international agenda and will focus on the Afghan problem and cooperation at multilateral venues, including the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” Zakharova said in Moscow on Thursday. Lavrov, who arrived in India Monday evening, will reach Islamabad Tuesday afternoon and will later visit Kazakhstan, Iran and Egypt, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Amid growing relations in various fields, Pakistan and Russia have also increased cooperation to push the fragile Afghan peace process and Pakistan is one of the active members of the Moscow-format consultations. Kabulov, the main character behind Russia’s active role in Afghan peace process and growing contacts with the Taliban political office in Qatar, last month visited Pakistan for talks on Moscow’s move to revive the Moscow format. Russia had started the Moscow-format consultations in 2017 with the involvement of regional countries in the Afghan peace process, which had been on a pause after President Ashraf Ghani started an alternate initiative the Kabul Process. It was believed that the US was behind the Kabul Process to scuttle the Moscow consultations, which had gained momentum. But now the US and Russia are also coordinating for a political solution to the problem.