Saudi Arabia and longstanding ally Pakistan signed several agreements yesterday.
On his seventh visit to the wealthy kingdom since his 2018 election, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was given a warm welcome by Saudi officials in the western coastal city of Jeddah.
He was greeted by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman at the airport, before holding talks with Saudi officials at Jeddah’s Al-Salam Palace.
“They affirmed the depth of relations between the two brotherly countries and underscored the importance of expanding and intensifying aspects of bilateral cooperation and coordination,” a Saudi statement said.
Khan’s visit appears to have restored co-operation between the two Islamic countries that are both heavily engaged in the “war on terror” which requires effective intelligence sharing.
“The two sides stressed the need for concerted efforts by the Islamic world to confront extremism and violence, and reject sectarianism,” the Saudi statement said.
The official Saudi Press Agency said the two sides signed agreements addressing the treatment of criminals, and crime.
They also agreed two memorandums of understanding on combating drug trafficking, and on financing energy, water and infrastructure projects.
The two countries also agreed to establish a Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Co-ordination Council (SPSCC).
“During the meeting, it was agreed to further strengthen, deepen and diversify the existing bilateral political, economic, trade, defence and security ties,” a Pakistani statement said.
“The talks were marked by exceptional cordiality and a commitment to fortify the upward trajectory in the bilateral relationship,” it added.
Pakistan has close links with Saudi Arabia, with more than 2.5 million of its nationals living and working in the kingdom, but it also maintains close ties with Iran and represents Tehran’s consular interests in the United States.
For decades, Pakistan has tried to balance its strong relationship with Saudi Arabia and its ties with Iran, with which it shares a near 625-mile border.
In 2019, Khan travelled between Saudi Arabia and Iran in a bid to calm animosities between the two countries.
“The prime minister of Pakistan’s visit to Saudi Arabia is an important milestone in bilateral relations,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan tweeted yesterday.
“The kingdom is keen to further strengthen relations between the brotherly countries as well as enable broader economic co-operation.”
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