Pakistan, S Arabia to bolster strategic ties

Set up high-level forum co-chaired by PM Imran, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman


AGENCIES May 08, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Crown Prince His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman have affirmed their commitment to fortify the 'upward trajectory' in Pakistan - Saudi Arabia bilateral relations, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement issued on Saturday.

The prime minister met the crown prince in Jeddah and held wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and international issues. "The talks were marked by exceptional cordiality and a commitment to fortify the upward trajectory in the bilateral relationship." The two sides also agreed upon further deepening cooperation in all fields.

The communique added that the prime minister conveyed sincere regards to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and thanked the crown prince for his gracious invitation to him to visit the kingdom.

The premier also expressed his gratitude for affording him the opportunity to visit the two Holy Mosques during the special days of Ramazan.

"The two leaders reaffirmed the strong and historic bonds between the two countries rooted firmly in shared beliefs, common values, mutual trust and longstanding tradition of mutual support," the press release added.

The prime minister reiterated Pakistan's abiding support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the kingdom and expressed special reverence accorded to the Land of the Two Holy Mosques by the people of Pakistan.

Read more: PM Imran welcomes Saudi Arabia peace initiative with Iran

The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

"They condemned the attacks of terrorist groups and militias, including Houthi militias, by ballistic missiles and drones on the territory of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia against vital installations and civilian objects," the statement said.

They expressed serious concern at the threats posed to the security of oil exports and the stability of energy supplies, which was vital for the progress and development of the region and its peoples.

The prime minister praised the role of Saudi Arabia for the resolution of crisis in Yemen which aims at achieving peace and security in Yemen which will result in prosperity and development of the region and its people.

Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the crown prince acknowledged Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process. The two sides, underlining that an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement is the only way forward, urged the Afghan parties to realise the historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to continue mutual consultations on the Afghan peace process.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to continue supporting each other at multilateral fora. "They agreed to further deepen coordination and cooperation to safeguard mutual interests and uphold the principles of fairness and justice," the press release added.

The two sides also stressed the importance of the commitment by all states to the United Nations Charter, the principles and decisions of international legitimacy, as well as adherence to the principles of good neighbourly relations, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and the endeavour to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

The crown prince welcomed the recent understanding reached between the military authorities of Pakistan and India regarding ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between Pakistan and India.

"The two sides emphasised the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region."

The press release further stated that during the meeting, it was agreed to further strengthen, deepen and diversify the existing bilateral political, economic, trade, defence and security ties.

Special emphasis was laid on increasing Saudi investments in Pakistan, collaboration in the field of energy, and increased job opportunities for Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, the MoFA stated.

PM Imran also appreciated the crown prince's recently launched "Green Saudi Arabia and Green Middle East" initiatives and hoped to build upon the synergies between the vision of the crown prince and his own environment-related initiatives including the "10 Billion Trees Tsunami".

Acknowledging the positive and constructive role of more than two million Pakistani diasporas in the kingdom, the two leaders discussed ways to maximize mutual benefit from cooperation in the human resource sector, the foreign office said.

The prime minister thanked the Saudi leadership for taking considerate measures for the welfare of Pakistani expatriates during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to MoFA, views were exchanged on regional and international issues. The communique further stated that PM Imran outlined his vision of a peaceful neighbourhood to advance the objectives of national economic development.

Highlighting the situation in Indian illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), the premier stressed upon the importance of peaceful resolution of the dispute.

The prime minister also highlighted Pakistan's consistent efforts to support peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He lauded the crown prince for the kingdom's efforts and initiatives aimed at reinforcing and further promoting regional peace and security.

Read more: COAS emphasises on need to enhance military to military cooperation between Pakistan, KSA

After the meeting, the prime minister and the crown prince signed the agreement on the establishment of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC).

The council, co-chaired by PM Imran and Crown Prince Salman, is designed to impart strategic direction to the development of Pakistan-Saudi relations.

The prime minister expressed the hope that the SPSCC will play a catalytic role in fostering enhanced bilateral cooperation in all fields.

The press release further added that the two leaders also witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral agreements/Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), including Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Combating Crimes; Agreement on Transfer of Convicted Individuals (Prisoners); MoU on Combating Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs; Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals; and Framework MoU for the financing of projects (totalling up to $500 million) in energy, hydropower generation, infrastructure, transport and communication and water resource development.

PM Imran also extended an invitation to Crown Prince Salman to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience, stated the MoFA.

Earlier, upon arrival at Jeddah airport, Prime Minister Imran Khan was received warmly by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Besides Foreign Minister Qureshi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Senator Faisal Javed and other senior officials are also part of the official delegation.

On May 4, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa reached Riyadh to meet Saudi civil and military leadership in what seemed to be part of the preparation of the prime minister's visit.

Imran arrives in Madina

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran arrived here in Madina Munawara on Saturday to pay his respects at Roza-e-Rasool (Peace be Upon Him). On his arrival in the holy city, the prime minister was received by Madina Munawara Governor Prince Faisal bin Salman.

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