ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on Tuesday reaffirmed to strengthen economic cooperation to further deepen bilateral relations by taking steps for realising the immense potential in trade, investment and energy sectors.
Both the countries reaffirmed their commitment to institutionalise the bilateral relations so as to make enhanced progress in the areas of trade and economy.
This was transpired from the separate meetings of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud with President Dr. Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi here.
According to details, the Prime Minister while talking to Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud emphasized the need for strengthening the Pak-Saudi economic relationship and taking steps for realizing the vast possibilities in the fields of trade, investment and energy.
The Prime Minister appreciated the work relating to activation of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, which is the highest level platform designed to impart strategic direction to the development of Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations.
Imran Khan lauded the important role of Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia in progress of the two countries and underlined the importance of timely measures for facilitation of their return to Saudi Arabia.
Noting the difficulties being faced by Pakistani nationals due to Covid-related travel restrictions, the prime minister underlined the importance of timely measures for facilitation of their return to Saudi Arabia.
Both sides develop consensus to boost trade, investments
On the situation in Afghanistan, the prime minister underscored the need for constructive engagement among the Afghan parties for securing a negotiated political settlement, which was critically important for peace and stability in the region.
The prime minister conveyed cordial greetings for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and fondly recalled his visit to Saudi Arabia in May.
In line with the decisions taken on the occasion, the prime minister highlighted the assiduous follow-up and stressed the need for exploring new avenues of cooperation to further deepen bilateral relations in diverse fields.
Thanking the prime minister for the warm welcome accorded to the Saudi delegation, Prince Faisal underscored the importance that Saudi Arabia attaches to its strong relationship with Pakistan, based on bonds of brotherhood.
He reaffirmed the resolve to taking all possible measures to further strengthen the bilateral relationship under the strategic direction set by the crown prince and the prime minister.
Meanwhile, welcoming the Saudi foreign minister, President Dr. Arif Alvi said that Pakistan highly valued its ties with KSA and wanted to further expand economic and trade relations with the brotherly country.
He highly commended the vision of Saudi leadership, particularly the Vision-2030 and the “Green Saudi Arabia” and “Green Middle East” Initiative, recently launched by the Crown Prince.
He expressed the hope that the visit of foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud would further cement bilateral ties between the two countries.
The Saudi foreign minister said that both countries enjoyed true brotherly relations and Saudi Arabia desired to maintain the existing momentum of bilateral cooperation.
Earlier, the Saudi foreign minister called on his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi. On the occasion, both the sides, agreed to bolster economic ties by enhancing trade and investment.
Both the foreign ministers held a bilateral meeting with their delegations and later spoke at a joint news conference. The Saudi top diplomat was on a day-long visit to Islamabad.
They pledged to continue extending support to each other on issues of regional and international importance.
The Saudi FM said his country hopes “to build on the momentum of strong bonds based on our brotherhood, as the two countries have always stood by each other in difficult times.”
He termed the delegation-level talks between the two sides as “very, very fruitful discussions” held on bilateral matters with all areas of broader spectrum came under discussion, with special focus on economic ties.
The Saudi FM said his government would encourage the businesspersons from both sides to explore opportunities of investment in areas of technology.
He also assured extending facilitation to the Pakistani travelers, especially in areas of visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 vaccination.
On climate change, Prince Faisal expressed the Saudi commitment to continue working with Pakistan as the country pursued the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan of achieving goals of preservation of the environment.
The Saudi FM appreciated the contributions of Pakistani community towards the development of Saudi Arabia.
“We are working to lighten the travel restrictions for passengers from Pakistan and also making sure that the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia gets vaccinated,” he said.
Prince Faisal said Pakistan had done “exceptionally well” in overcoming the coronavirus.
The Saudi FM said security was the key factor in ensuring economic prosperity and vowed to facilitate the efforts for peace, whether in Kashmir, Palestine or Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Pakistan was “comfortable how things were moving” and the two sides will take the friendship to new levels. He said the talks focused on ways to improve economic linkages through bilateral trade and investments.
Qureshi mentioned that July 26 senior officials-level talks on July 26 discussed the structure of the Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council for its activation.
“Focal persons from both foreign ministries have been appointed to materialize a structured and institutionalized way of looking at our bilateral relations,” he said.
Qureshi said Pakistani workforce could contribute positively towards the implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 of development.
During the delegations level talks, the two foreign ministers held wide-ranging talks covering bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues of common interest.
Recalling the successful visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia in May 2021, the two Foreign Ministers reviewed implementation status of the decisions taken during the visit.
The two sides agreed to continue working closely to further strengthen bilateral relations in all spheres, with a particular focus on trade, investments, energy, the environment, and culture.
The two Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction on the ongoing work related to the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC), which is a highest level platform designed to impart strategic direction to the development of Pakistan-Saudi relations. The two sides agreed that the SPSCC will play a catalytic role in fostering enhanced bilateral cooperation in all fields.
Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s shifting focus from geo-politics to geo-economics – with emphasis on three central pillars of peace, development partnerships, and connectivity.
The Foreign Minister also highlighted the transformational CPEC project and noted the vast opportunities for investments in the SEZs.
Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted the human rights situation in IIOJK and underlined Pakistan’s principled position on the peaceful resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in line with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Foreign Minister thanked the Kingdom for its steadfast support for the Kashmir cause.
Foreign Minister Qureshi also apprised the Saudi Foreign Minister about Pakistan’s perspective for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Emphasizing that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister underlined Pakistan’s sincere and serious efforts for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister stated that durable peace and stability in Afghanistan will open new avenues for regional connectivity and economic cooperation.
According to sources, Saudi has assured Pakistan that it would passionately look into the request by Pakistan for return of Pakistani workers to the Kingdom by relaxing the Covid related restrictions.
According to the credible sources, the issue came under discussion during the talks held at the Foreign Ministry between two the foreign ministers and at the leadership level.
At present there are thousands of Pakistani workers who returned to their homes last year from the Kingdom due to the Covid lockdown and now face restrictions in returning to the kingdom.
The sources said the Saudi foreign minister has assured that direct flights would also be restored with Pakistan in future provided there is massive reduction in Covid cases in both countries and all returning workers are completely vaccinated.
The sources said both the sides also discussed the upcoming visit by Crown Prince Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Pakistan later this year.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had invited Crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman to visit Pakistan when he visited Saudi Arabia in May this year.