PM Imran discusses regional issues with Afghan, Egyptian presidents on sidelines of OIC summit

Published May 31, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Makkah on Friday. — Photo courtesy PM Office
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Makkah on Friday. — Photo courtesy PM Office

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday held separate meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the sidelines of the two-day summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The premier and Ghani exchanged views on bilateral relations, regional issues and the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.

Prime Minister Imran during the meeting "reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan" and underlined Pakistan's support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process that could lead to a political solution in the neighbouring country.

He said the forthcoming visit of President Ghani to Pakistan "will provide an opportunity to further focus on political, security, economic and people-to-people aspects of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations", according to the statement.

The prime minister earlier exchanged views on a range of bilateral, regional and international matters with the Egyptian president, according to a tweet by the ruling PTI.

"The two leaders agreed to comprehensively upgrade cooperation in all fields. They also agreed to increase the frequency of bilateral political contacts and exchanges," it said. The duo also discussed the common issues being faced by the Muslim world.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had invited 57 members of the OIC to attend the summit, titled 'Makkah Summit: Together for the Future', during which key issues facing the Muslim world, including "strengthening unity among Muslim states amid rising tensions in the Arabian Gulf" will be discussed.

The OIC meeting is among three summits Saudi Arabia is hosting in Makkah this week to allow US ally Riyadh the chance to present unified Islamic, Arab and Gulf fronts against its arch-rival Tehran.

Read: Iran tensions overshadow Makkah summits

Tensions have soared in the Gulf, with the United States deploying an aircraft carrier and bombers there over alleged threats from Iran.

Washington has reinstated tough sanctions against Tehran and decided to deploy 1,500 more troops to the Middle East amid sabotage attacks on oil facilities.

Two Saudi oil tankers, among four vessels, were the targets of mysterious acts of sabotage off the United Arab Emirates this month, and Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels have stepped up drone attacks on the Kingdom — one of which resulted in the temporary shutdown of a major oil pipeline.

Tehran has repeatedly threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which 35 per cent of the world's seaborne oil passes.

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