NATIONAL

Russia conveys `serious concern' to Pak.

MOSCOW, DEC. 22.Russia told the Pakistani envoy in Moscow of its ``serious concern'' over the buildup of tension between Delhi and Islamabad.

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Alexander Losyukov, ``conveyed serious concern over growing tensions in relations between India and Pakistan'' to the Pakistani Ambassador to Russia, Mr. Iftihar Murshed, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday night.

The Russian diplomat ``expressed the hope that political dialogue between Delhi and Islamabad could be resumed on the basis of the Lahore accords and that the two leading countries in South Asia could join efforts in the struggle against the threat of terrorism''.

Mr. Losyukov told the Interfax news agency after the meeting that Moscow was closely watching the ``alarming situation''in the region, which ``unfortunately is showing no sign of improvement.''Russia hopes that Delhi and Islamabad will not resort to ``extreme steps'', Interfax quoted the Russian diplomat as saying.