ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday agreed to further enhance their cooperation and to improve assistance for economic stability, especially more investment in local energy sector.
Both the countries also agreed to increase cooperation in all fields, including investment, trade, energy and export of skilled and semi-skilled manpower to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed historic and deep rooted relations. and were very strong friends.
Replying to a question of any discussion or deal on the release of former President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, he said it was an internal matter of Pakistan and being a friend Saudi Arabia did not and would not interfere in internal matters of Pakistan.
Sartaj Aziz said both the sides in today’s talks reiterated to further expand their relations for the benefit of their peoples.
He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to enhance cooperation in a broad spectrum of areas, especially investment, trade and energy.
Sartaj Aziz said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in his interaction informed the Saudi Foreign Minister about his government’s plans to enhance growth, create job opportunities and reduce poverty for brighter future of Pakistan.
He said, “We will encourage the Saudi investors to invest in different sectors, especially energy.”
Appreciating Saudi economic assistance, Sartaj Aziz said there was mutual desire to further intensify economic interaction.
The advisor said both the countries shared similarity of views on international and regional issues. He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia stood by each other and shared views on peace and stability in the region.
The Saudi Foreign Minister said his country would continue to provide all possible assistance to Pakistan for economic stability.
He said the designs of those plotting to spoil Pakistan-Saudi relations should be thwarted.
He said his country would extend cooperation to Pakistan in energy and other sectors.
Saud Al-Faisal said there was a need for joint efforts to eradicate the menace of terrorism.
He pointed out that the international troops were drawing down from Afghanistan by the end of this year and efforts were required to stop the terrorists from regrouping and fill the gap being created due to the withdrawal of international forces.
On the issue of Syria, the Saudi Foreign Minister called upon all the groups to sit together to find a peaceful solution of the crisis.
He said President Hafiz ul Asad should not be given absolute power and the Syrian crisis could be resolved through mutual consultation and cooperation by all the groups.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal said he had brought a special message from King Abdullah for the Pakistani leadership, which he conveyed to President Mamoon Hussain. He did not elaborate the contents of the message.
He said there was a need to form a committee for further enhancing bilateral ties and resolve any issue. He said the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) should also be used for more interaction between the Muslim countries.
He said Saudi Arabia was ready to invest, specially in the energy sector as Pakistan was just utilizing 16 per cent of its potential in hydal sector and there was wide scope for more investment in that sector.
Sartaj Aziz, giving details of the visit of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, said the visit has a special significance in bilateral relations.
“We consider the visit as a historic event as it is the first high level visit from Saudi Arabia since the current democratically elected government took office in Pakistan,” he added.
The Advisor said Pakistan had a profound sense of affinity with Saudi Arabia and its fraternal people, which was rooted in common faith, heritage and values.
He said Prince Saud Al-Faisal met President Mamoon Hussain, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and held detailed discussions with him at the Foreign Office.
He said all the meetings were held in a very warm and cordial atmosphere.
Sartaj Aziz said, “We are satisfied with the status of our existing cordial and fraternal bilateral relations and we reiterated our mutual desire to further expand and strengthen these fraternal relations in all spheres for the benefit of the people of both countries.”
He said the presence of over 1.5 million Pakistani nationals in Saudi Arabia was a proof of close and fraternal relations.
They served as a bridge between the two countries since they were working hard to contribute to the development and prosperity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while remitting approximately US$ 4 billion to Pakistan, contributing to the national economy as well, he added
Sartaj Aziz said there was a similarity of views on regional and international matters of mutual interest.
He said in the face of many challenges that confront the region, it was a matter of great satisfaction that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia stood together and shared their views on peace and progress of the region.
He said, “I am confident that the fraternal bonds between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will continue to grow and gain further strength in the years ahead. It will indeed remain our joint effort to carry forward these bonds of friendship and trust to the future generations.”
He said Joint Economic Commission of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would meet very soon while the Saudi-Pakistan Business Council would be made more active and energetic.
Replying to a question on US-Iran relations, Sartaj Aziz said any improvement in the region would help improve regional trade and economic ties.
The Saudi Foreign Minister, who arrived here on two-day visit on Monday, left on Tuesday evening.