JEDDAH, July 16: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday met Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and discussed with him bilateral relations, the situation in the region and international issues.

The prime minister briefed the king about measures being taken by Pakistan for peace, progress and stability in the region, especially its role in finding a peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue in accordance with the aspirations of the Afghan people.

Mr Pervez was accompanied by federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan and other officials. Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal and Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Ibrahim Abdul Aziz al Ghadeer and other top officials represented the Saudi side at the meeting.

The meeting lasted more than the scheduled time during which Mr Ashraf told King Abdullah that Pakistanis considered him the leader of the Ummah.

The king sought details on Pakistan-India relations and the prime minister informed him that the ties with Delhi were improving with the continuation of the dialogue process between the two countries.

Appreciating the improvement in Pakistan-India relations and expressing satisfaction, King Abdullah said these improved relations would be beneficial for the people of the two countries.

Mr Ashraf also apprised the king of efforts by Pakistan to improve relations with its other neighbours and said he would visit Afghanistan on July 19 and meet President Hamid Karzai to strengthen Pakistan-Afghan relations.

The premier thanked King Abdullah and the Saudi government for helping Pakistan during the devastating floods and the earthquake.

He briefed the king about the progress made in the war on terror and the situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and sought his help to resolve the energy crisis in Pakistan.

King Abdullah told Mr Ashraf that Saudi Arabia would extend its full cooperation and assistance to Pakistan to resolve the energy crisis and said the Saudi minister concerned would visit Pakistan in this regard.

The premier extended greetings to the king on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari. Mr Ashraf told the king that he sought guidance from him to overcome difficulties being faced by the people of Pakistan.

King Abdullah said Pakistan was not a new friend and thanked Pakistani diaspora who considered Saudi Arabia as their second home. The prime minister offered condolences to the king over the death of former crown prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz.

He renewed his invitation to Crown Prince Salman to visit Pakistan which he accepted and said the date for the visit would be finalised mutually.

The prime minister, while discussing the question of food security, asked Saudi investors to invest in Pakistan’s agriculture sector.—APP


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