KATHMANDU: Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali held delegation-level talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two Ministers exchanged views on various aspects of bilateral relations. They underscored the importance of the exchange of high-level visits, including the judicial, parliamentary and business exchanges. Minister Gyawali handed over the invitation of the President Bidya Devi Bhandari to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin to pay a state visit to Nepal. He also handed over the invitation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

During the meeting, Minister Lavrov said that the visit of FM Gyawali is important in view of the gap of 14 years since the last visit from the Nepali side. Minister Gyawali stated that this visit was an indication of the importance Nepal attached to its friendship with Russia, particularly in the fundamentally changed national context.

The Ministers agreed to harness the immense potentials to enlarge the scope and enrich the substance of the bilateral cooperation especially in the areas of investment, trade, tourism, education, energy, infrastructure development, and culture and people-to-people relations.

The two sides underlined the need for building a strong economic partnership commensurate with the bond of friendship they have been cherishing since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1956. They agreed to explore ways and means for enhancing economic and trade relations for mutual benefit. Through his Russian counterpart, Minister Gyawali encouraged Russian entrepreneurs to invest in Nepal in view of an investment-friendly environment.

In the meeting, Nepal acknowledged Russian cooperation in many areas, ranging from post-disaster support of 2015 to human resource development, infrastructure development to cultural cooperation.

In the context of Visit Nepal Year 2020, Nepal also invited more Russian visitors to Nepal.

The two leaders also shared their perspectives on important global agendas, including maintenance of international peace and security, disarmament and peacekeeping. They expressed their commitment to multilateralism and the centrality of the United Nations to deal with international issues. Minister Gyawali, stating that the agenda of climate change is high on the agenda of both the countries, invited his Russian counterpart to participate in the Sagarmatha Sambaad to be held in Kathmandu in April 2020.

The two Ministers also shared their views on regional cooperation.

Present on the Nepali side during the meeting were Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, Ambassador of Nepal to the Russia Rishi Ram Ghimire among others while the Russian Foreign Minister was accompanied by Igor Morgulov, Deputy Foreign Minister, Director Zamir Kabulov and Deputy other Russian officials.

Minister Lavrov hosted an official luncheon in honour of Minister Gyawali and his delegation.

Minister Gyawali reached Moscow on Sunday. On Sunday evening, the Non-Resident Nepali Association, Russia organized a reception to welcome the Nepali delegation. Speaking with NRNA representatives, Minister Gyawali appreciated the active role being played by Nepali diaspora in Russia for the promotion of trade, investment and people to people exchange.He is scheduled to address the Institute of International Relations in Moscow on Nepal-Russia relations and cooperation on Tuesday.