Russia today rubbished media reports about 'secret negotiations' between Moscow and Islamabad regarding cooperation on the $46bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to reports that appeared in Pakistani media, Islamabad had formally authorised Moscow to join the CPEC after the head of Russian intelligence made a visit to Pakistan in order to inspect the Gwadar port.
However, the Russian foreign ministry, in a statement, denied all such reports.
"The Pakistani media reports about secret negotiations between Russia and Pakistan on the implementation of projects as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are not true to the facts," the statement said.
"Moscow is not discussing the possibility of joining this project [CPEC] with Islamabad," it added.
The statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry adds that Moscow intends to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with Pakistan.
"Russia-Pakistan trade and economic cooperation has its own inherent value, and we intend to strengthen it," it said.
"Russian companies are implementing business projects in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, including the planned construction of the North-South gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore, on a bilateral basis," it added.