Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan would continue to facilitate efforts to resolve all disputes in the Middle East through diplomatic means to prevent conflict. The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s view at his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Riyadh on Saturday.
According to a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Islamabad, Premier Imran, who was on a day-long visit to the oil-rich country, held comprehensive consultations with the Saudi prince on bilateral issues and developments in the global context.
The visit of the Prime Minister – part of regular exchanges between the leadership of the two countries – was followed by a whirlwind trip by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who, accompanied by Pakistan’s spy chief, toured Riyadh four days back to lay the groundwork for Imran’s trip.
This was the fourth visit of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia since May 2019, which, according to the report, illustrates the importance that Pakistan attaches to this strategic partnership. Imran emphasized the strategic importance of the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and called it a “pivotal stability, development and prosperity partnership.”
In the bilateral context, the prime minister underscored the unique strength of Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations, based on mutual trust and understanding.
He noted that high-level visits were a hallmark of the relationship, and the visit of the Crown Prince to Pakistan in February 2019 marked a new era of deeper engagement across economic, investment, energy, security and defense, and people-to-people domains.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the ongoing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. They reiterated their determination to take bilateral relations to a new level.
It was noted that the formation of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council provided a robust institutional framework for advancing cooperation in various fields. During the Council’s second meeting, which was expected to take place early next year, the two sides hoped to further advance this process.
“In the context of the Middle East, the Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s view that disputes and differences should be resolved through political and diplomatic means,” he said. “Pakistan would continue to facilitate all efforts in this direction in order to prevent conflict, defuse tensions and preserve peace for the benefit of the region and the world,” he added.
The prime minister learned of the current situation in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir to the Saudi crown prince, which has been marked by continuous lockdown and other restrictions since 5 August 2019. It was followed by the belligerent rhetoric and on-the-control acts of India.
Imran thanked Riyadh for its traditional support for the Kashmir cause, including its active role in the Jammu & Kashmir OIC Contact Group. Both sides discussed ways to further advance the Kashmir cause through the OIC and other means.
The Saudi side offered all possible support in the development of the tourism sector in Pakistan. In this context, it was agreed that the Saudi team would undertake a visit to Pakistan soon.
The Prime Minister extended warm congratulations on the presidency of the G20 by Saudi Arabia. This is a reflection of the role and prominence of the Saudi leadership in the international community, he said, adding that Pakistan wanted a highly successful G20 presidency for Saudi Arabia.
Premier Imran reached Riyadh after a brief stopover in Madian, where he paid his respects at Roza-e-Rasool (Peace be Upon Him) and offered prayers there.
Upon his arrival in the capital of Saudi Arabia, he was received by the governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Faisal bin Bin Abdulaziz, and Ambassador of Pakistan, Raja Ali Ijaz, at the Royal Terminal. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood also accompanied the Prime Minister.
Foreign Minister Qureshi, speaking to a private television channel, said on Saturday that there was no misunderstanding between Islamabad and Riyadh, rather the government removed the misunderstandings created by its predecessors.
The Minister referred to Pakistan’s role in reducing tensions in the Middle East, particularly between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar. As a founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Pakistan would play its part in removing the strain on ties between Muslim states, he added.
“The Qatari prime minister has recently attended a meeting of the GCC[ Gulf Cooperation Council] in Riyadh following the participation of Pakistan,” Qureshi said. “Prime Minister Imran Khan visited both Tehran and Riyadh in order to remove misunderstandings between the two countries which helped to prevent an imminent confrontation.”