Pakistan on Friday rejected as “totally baseless” the media reports that foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave an assurance on India’s bid for permanent membership of the UNSC.

India has been at the forefront of the years-long efforts to reform the Security Council saying it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member of the Council, which in its current form does not represent the geo-political realities of the 21st Century.

Rejecting media reports that Bilawal gave an assurance to Blinken last month on India’s bid for permanent membership of the UNSC, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said, “no discussion” on this issue took place during the foreign minister’s meeting with the US Secretary in New York.

“I understand you are referring to some rumours and speculative reporting about Pakistan’s position on the Indian bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Let me tell you this is totally baseless, absolute fiction. We categorically reject any such statement that is being wrongly attributed to the Foreign Minister,” he said.

Ahmed said Pakistan’s position on the reform of the UN Security Council was clear, consistent and unambiguous and together with its other partners in the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) Group, the country was opposed, in principle, to any expansion in the permanent membership of the Security Council.

“There is no change whatsoever in that policy. Pakistan supports a comprehensive reform of the Security Council that would make the Council more democratic, more representative, more transparent, effective, and more accountable to the wider membership of the United Nations,” he said.

Ahmed said Pakistan would support a reformed Council that corresponds to the interests of the large majority of member states and not just a few, and any expansion in the permanent category of membership does not conform to these principles of reform.

“We believe that expansion in the non-permanent category with periodic elections and rotation is the best way of achieving a more representative and accountable Security Council in line with contemporary democratic ideals,” he said.

The spokesperson also said Pakistan was in talks with Russia to buy cheaper oil and procure wheat to offset the impact of rising petroleum prices and meet possible grain shortages.

“I can say that we have been in contact with the Russian side, both through our embassy in Moscow and through the Russian Embassy in Islamabad for the possibility of oil import at discounted rates. There is a separate discussion going on about procurement of wheat on a G2G basis,” he said.

He said Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik recently held a press briefing on these matters.

“I can tell you that this subject matter remains under consideration. And once again, I would say that we would take steps that are in our national interest – that serve our national interest,” he said.

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