Russia on Friday offered to mediate and provide the venue to Pakistan and India for the talks to resolve their current differences, news agency PTI reported. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi over the telephone and discussed the situation in the region following the escalation of tensions between the two neighbours, it said. "Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reiterated his country's offer of mediation and provision of a venue for the talks between India and Pakistan," the FO added.
Qureshi appreciated Russia's balanced and constructive role in de-escalation of tensions in the region.
He welcomed the Russian offer and said that he had acknowledged Moscow's constructive role in Parliament while addressing the joint session earlier in the day, which was well received.
The two Foreign Ministers agreed to continue consultations for the promotion of peace and stability in the region, according to FO.
Earlier, Pakistan handed over IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman through Wagah Border on Friday. While speaking in Parliament, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that they would release captive Indian Air Force pilot on Friday as a 'big peace gesture'. Khan's surprise announcement to a joint session of Parliament, that Varthaman will be released Friday, was greeted by loud thumping of desks by the lawmakers. Earlier, his foreign minister said Khan was also willing to talk to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the phone to talk peace.
India on Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded the immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a special joint sitting of the parliament on Thursday announced that Pakistan will release the pilot.