Russian Vladimir Putin declines to meet Imran Khan at BRI summit


BEIJING:    In a massive embarrassment to Pakistan, Islamabad could not convince Russia for a bilateral meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the just-concluded Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
Not only that other than his meetings with the Chinese president and prime minister, but PM Imran could also only manage meeting the prime minister of Ethiopia and the president of Tajikistan despite the fact that at least 37 heads of states and governments attended the two-day moot.
There was no immediate explanation available from the government as to why more meetings could not be arranged between the prime minister and other world leaders.
Bilateral meetings are common at international forums since it is convenient to arrange. The Foreign Office before the prime minister’s departure to Beijing had issued a statement in which it said that Imran would not only attend the Belt and Road forum but would also hold meetings with “several heads of state/governments and corporate and business leaders on the sidelines of second BRF”.
Although the prime minister did have an audience with heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, there were no notable meetings with heads of states and governments except interaction with the host President, Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
The biggest setback for Pakistan was its failure to arrange a meeting between President Putin and PM Imran.
Official sources said the government did request Russia for a meeting between the two leaders but it could not be materialized.