• Thursday, May 19, 2022

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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia Sign Agreements To Reset Ties

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint press conference with Afghan president at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on November 19, 2020. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pooja Shrivastava

By Pooja Shrivastava

Over a series of several agreements signed today, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have vowed to reset ties strained by months of disagreement over policy on the Kashmir dispute.

“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.

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan is on his seventh visit to the wealthy kingdom since his 2018 election. He was reportedly given a warm welcome by Saudi officials in the western coastal city of Jeddah, where he was greeted by Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the airport, following which he held talks with Saudi officials at Jeddah’s Al-Salam Palace.

The two countries have reportedly agreed to establish a Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC). The official Saudi Press Agency said that the two sides have signed agreements addressing the treatment of criminals, and crime, including an MoU on combating drug trafficking, and on financing energy, water and infrastructure projects.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were known as close allies. However, their relations reportedly became strained as Riyadh appeared frustrated with Islamabad last year.

In a sharply worded statement in August, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on the Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting on Kashmir. The call was said to be not taken well by Riyadh.

Some political experts also claim that the kingdom is also keen not to upset India, a key business partner and importer of Saudi oil.

However, Khan’s visit appeared to have reset the relations once again between the two Islamic countries that are both heavily engaged in the “war on terror” which requires effective intelligence sharing.

“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.

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