'Saudi Arabia to join CPEC,' ambassador tells Pakistani media group

September 22, 2017

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Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Nawaf Saeed Al –Malkiy. ─APP
Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Nawaf Saeed Al –Malkiy. ─APP

Saudi Arabia will "soon" undertake investments at Gwadar Port and join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), The News has reported quoting Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf Saeed Ahmed Al-Malkiy, in a story published on Friday.

During an interview with Jang Group publications, the ambassador said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are taking measures to strengthen "fraternal and trade ties".

“More than three million Pakistanis are playing their role in the progress and prosperity of Saudi Arabia,” he said, referring to Pakistani immigrants working in Saudi Arabia.

He added that Saudi Arabia's investment in CPEC would allow the kingdom to play a similar role in Pakistan.

The ambassador added that bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would be further strengthened through the exchange of cultural delegations. He added that in the coming weeks, an initiative would be started whereby Pakistani students would be offered scholarships to study in Saudi Arabia's universities, The News said.

In August, during a visit to Jeddah, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had shown appreciation for Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud's 'Vision 2030' plan — an ambitious project to diversify and modernise the Saudi economy.

The PM had assured him of continued cooperation and collaboration to the benefit of both countries.

Referring to the meeting in Jeddah, the ambassador said that new avenues will be explored for enhancing trade volumes between the two countries

Military relations

Highlighting the importance of strong military relations with Pakistan for Saudi Arabia, the ambassador praised Pakistan's role in the fight against terrorism, The News reported.

He added that the the newly formed Islamic Coalition Force — being led by the former army chief, retired Gen Raheel Sharif — does not stand against any particular country and was formed to engage in counter-terrorism efforts.

“Saudi Arabia believes that interfaith dialogue is the need of the hour... Islam is misunderstood in Europe and Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with the terrorism,” he said

The ambassador explained that Gen Raheel was appointed to lead the coalition to enhance capacity building of the defence forces against terrorism and exchange and share the intelligence information, The News said.

The ambassador said that the strength of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan showed when Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa visited the kingdom in his first official visit abroad after being appointed chief of army staff.