ISLAMABAD: As Prime Minister Imran Khan is on three-day tour to Saudi Arabia, Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Riyadh can play its role to reduce tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir and other issues.

The ceasefire between Pakistan and India is an “excellent step in the right direction”, the Saudi foreign minister said in an interview with Pakistan Television via video link. He said Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia was “extremely important” in the history of bilateral relations.

“The visit of Imran Khan is extremely important in the history of the brotherly relations… We have an excellent visit of the prime minister and many many subjects covered,” the Saudi foreign minister added.

He said during the interaction, the two leaderships had the main focus on economic cooperation, facilitation of greater investment and trade. He said Saudi Arabia hosted two million Pakistanis residing in the Kingdom who had contributed greatly to the development of the nation.

He said during the visit, the two countries had worked together to enhance cooperation on the issues of bilateral as well those concerning Muslim Ummah.

To a question, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the agreement for the establishment of the Supreme Coordination Council was extremely important to institutionalise and nurture political, security cooperation and most importantly the economic cooperation. He said the bilateral relations existed for a long time but the two countries had not exploited the existed potential.

Referring to the joint statement issued on Saturday after the interaction of two leaderships, the Saudi foreign minister said both the sides would work to activate the council to exploit the potential and achieve the tangible results.

He commented that the Saudi Crown Prince remembered his last Pakistan visit very fondly and that he also looked forward to visit Pakistan at a yet to be coordinated time.

Calling it a dangerous trend, he appreciated Pakistan’s role to counter Islamophobia and said the OIC should be used to address the issue of intolerance.

He said there must be a dialogue on how to address the escalating tone of disrespect of Islam and Muslim nations needed to be together to address the issue.

“We are very proud that Pakistan is taking it to the heart,” he commented saying that Saudi Arabia was working closely with PM Imran Khan to address the concerns.

Asked about the green initiatives of Saudi government, he said Pakistan had also a leading role in that regard like 10 Billion Tree Tsunami and that the country had already made a very impressive progress.

“I am sure we will work together to align both the initiatives and to learn from each other and benefit from each other’s experiences. Strong bilateral relations mean that we can partner on issues not only bilateral but also of global nature” he remarked.

Responding to a question, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the real focus of the leadership during the visit was economic relationship and build stronger investment climate between the two nations to facilitate investors from both sides.

He told the questioners that Saudi Arabia had undergone some significant labour reforms showing flexibility and allowing the workers to transfer their work from one employer to other.

Under vision 2030, the Saudi government had plans to grow the employment database of the Kingdom that would also open up opportunities for Pakistani nationals as well as businesses.

Touching the Afghan situation, he said Afghan peace was critical not for Pakistan’s security but also the global security. He said Pakistan had a very important role to play for peaceful Afghanistan and the Kingdom would work closely with the international community to help Afghanistan find security and stability.


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