ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah and held wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and international issues.

During the talks, both leaders reaffirmed the strong and historic bonds between the two countries “rooted firmly in shared beliefs, common values, mutual trust, and a longstanding tradition of mutual support”.

The PM reiterated Pakistan’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting, it was agreed to further strengthen, deepen and diversify the existing bilateral political, economic, trade, defence, 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 PM appreciated the prince’s recently launched “Green Saudi Arabia and Green Middle East” initiative and hoped to build upon the synergies between the vision of MBS and his own environment-related initiatives, including the “10 Billion Trees Tsunami”.

Acknowledging the positive and constructive role of more than two million Pakistani diasporas in the Kingdom, the two leaders discussed ways to maximise mutual benefit from cooperation in the human resource sector. The premier thanked the Saudi leadership for taking considerate measures for the welfare of Pakistani expatriates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, Imran outlined his vision of a peaceful neighborhood to advance the objectives of national economic development. Highlighting the situation in occupied Kashmir, the PM stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He also highlighted Pakistan’s consistent efforts to support peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

After the meeting, Imran and MBS signed the Agreement on Establishment of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC). The council, co-chaired by the PM and the crown prince, is designed to impart strategic direction to the development of Pakistan-Saudi relations. The PM expressed the hope that the SPSCC will play a catalytic role in fostering enhanced bilateral cooperation in all fields.

The two leaders also witnessed the 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 MBS to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience. Earlier, upon arrival at Jeddah airport, Prime Minister Imran Khan was received by MBS.

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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