MBS, Khan Ink Deals to Deepen Ties in All Fields

Jeddah (Shahid Nayeem): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman affirmed commitment to deepen Pakistan- Saudi relations in all fields.

Khan is accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and the Army Chief Gen. Bajwa.

A source tells DesPardes the two traditional allies and brotherly countries are signing major deals as Khan’s three-day visit dovetails Pakistan Army chief Gen. Bajwa’s visit to the Kingdom considered a “clear the deck and deal” ritual amid regional dynamics.

The crown prince and the PM signed an agreement on establishment of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC). The Council, co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince, is designed to impart strategic direction to the development of Pakistan-Saudi relations.

“Saudi-Pakistan strategic partnership is one of the main planks of peace and stability in South and West Asia,” says Mr. G R Baloch, a Pakistan-based foreign observer. “The two countries should continue to accord top priority to this strategic relationship”.

“I welcome this visit by IK and General Bajwa,” Mr. Baloch adds.

Earlier this month, Pakistan brought in a former military brass as its new envoy to Riyadh.

Regional observers are attaching a great deal of significance to the developments amid changing dynamics with “long term impacts”, according to a UAE-based analyst, in the Middle East and the wider region.

According to Saudi media and Pakistan Embassy sources, Khan 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 Prime Minister expressed gratitude for affording him the opportunity to visit the two Holy Mosques during the special days of the Ramadan.

Khan met PMS 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 their bilateral relationship.

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 Pakistani 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.

During the meeting, it was agreed to further strengthen, deepen and diversify the existing bilateral political, economic, trade, defense 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 Prime Minister 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 diaspora in the Kingdom, the two leaders discussed ways to maximize mutual benefit from cooperation in the human resource sector. The Prime Minister thanked the Saudi leadership for taking considerate measures for the welfare of Pakistani expatriates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Views were exchanged on regional and international issues. The Pakistani Prime Minister outlined his vision of a peaceful neighborhood to advance the objectives of national economic development. Highlighting the situation in IIOJK, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister also highlighted Pakistan’s consistent efforts to support peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister lauded the Crown Prince for the Kingdom’s efforts and initiatives aimed at reinforcing and further promoting regional peace and security.

After the meeting, the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince signed the Agreement on establishment of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC). The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the SPSCC will play a catalytic role in fostering enhanced bilateral cooperation in all fields.

The two leaders also witnessed 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 financing of projects (totaling up to USD 500 million) in energy, hydropower generation, infrastructure, transport and communication and water resource development.

The Prime Minister extended an invitation to HRH the Crown Prince to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.

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

With additional inputs.