PM Sharif welcomes Saudi ‘anti-terror’ coalition
According to a joint statement issued in Islamabad on the visit, the Saudi Foreign Minister called on the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and held delegation level talks with Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. He also met Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during his meeting with the Saudi foreign minister, affirmed that the people of Pakistan will always stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The PM said Pakistan welcomes Saudi Arabia’s initiative of Islamic coalition against terrorism. He stressed that Pakistan supports all such regional and international efforts to counter terrorism and extremism.
He called for further expanding bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in all fields of cooperation, including defence, security, and economy.
Nawaz Sharif emphasised intensified efforts to boost bilateral trade and urged to increase Saudi investment in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector.
The Saudi Foreign Minister briefed the Prime Minister on the recent situation in the Kingdom’s relations with Iran. According to the statement, Pakistan expressed deep concern at the escalation of the situation.
Pakistan believes in respect for international norms and adherence to principle of non-interference.
The Prime Minister called for resolution of differences through peaceful means in the larger interest of the Muslim unity in this challenging time.
The Saudi foreign minister also held delegation level talks with the prime minister’s advisor Sartaj Aziz.
“The two sides underscored the need to develop jointly a counter narrative against extremism and terrorism with the help of religious scholars.”
It was agreed “both countries would make a concerted effort to promote multi-faceted cooperation and work together to defeat our common enemy –- terrorism and extremism”.
The two sides also discussed ways and means to further expand areas of cooperation.
AFP adds: “Pakistan has shown a slight leaning towards Saudi Arabia by staying in the 34-nation alliance whose objectives are not very clear,” analyst Hasan Askari told AFP.
“Pakistan has, however, kept some options open on how to deal with the situation of conflict with Iran and Saudi,” he said.