• Joint statement also urges Afghan parties to realise historic opportunity for political settlement
• PM, Saudi crown prince back political solutions to conflicts in Libya, Syria, Yemen
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Saturday expressed desire for resolution of Kashmir dispute through dialogue and Afghan conflict through political settlement.
A joint statement, which is being considered a significant development with Saudi Arabia calling for dialogue to resolve the longstanding issue of Kashmir, was issued by the two Muslim countries on the second day of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s three-day visit to the kingdom.
The two sides emphasised the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region, according to the joint statement.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Khan, acknowledged Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process and welcomed the recent understanding reached between the military authorities of Pakistan and India regarding ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between Pakistan and India.
Last year Islamabad had expected Riyadh to support Pakistan over the Kashmir crisis, particularly through a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC. However, Saudi Arabia turned down the request and called for return of $1 billion loan on Pakistan’s insistence to call the foreign ministers’ meeting. Consequently, Pakistan had to obtain loan from China to pay back the loan to the kingdom.
While discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan and Saudi leadership agreed to continue mutual consultations on the Afghan peace process. They underlined that an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement was the only way forward and urged the Afghan parties to realise the historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement.
The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination to safeguard mutual interests and to continue supporting each other at multilateral fora. They underlined the importance of the commitment by all states to the UN Charter, the principles and decisions of international legitimacy, as well as adherence to the principles of good neighbourly relations, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and the endeavour to resolve disputes by peaceful means.
PM Khan and Prince Salman reaffirmed the historical and fraternal ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, reviewed all facets of bilateral cooperation and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. They discussed ways to strengthen relations in all fields and agreed to boost cooperation between the governments as well as private sectors of the two countries.
The prime minister recalled his visits to the kingdom in 2018 and 2019 and the historic visit of the Saudi crown prince, deputy prime minister, minister of defence to Pakistan in February 2019 during which the two sides had announced the launch of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council.
Pakistan assured of support
The crown prince assured Mr Khan of Saudi Arabia’s continued support to his vision to transform Pakistan into a modern, developed and welfare state. The two sides discussed ways to enhance economic and trade relations by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision and Pakistan’s development priorities emanating from a shift from geopolitics to geo-economics, with focus on cooperation in defence, energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture.
They called for concerted efforts by the Muslim countries to confront extremism and violence, reject sectarianism, and strive to achieve international peace and security. They also stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations. They reaffirmed that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.
Both leaders reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially, their right to self-determination and establishment of their independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions. They expressed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, as well as the efforts of the UN and its envoys in this regard.
The two sides also highlighted the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemen conflict based on the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions including Resolution-2216.
They condemned the attacks of terrorist groups and militias, including the Houthi militias, by ballistic missiles and drones on the territory of the kingdom against vital installations and civilian objects. They expressed serious concern at the threats posed to the security of oil exports and the stability of energy supplies, which was vital for the progress and development of the region and its peoples.
PM Khan congratulated the government of Saudi Arabia for successfully organising and holding the G20 summit meetings and the positive decisions that resulted from it in economic, developmental, environmental, health, energy and other fields.
The two leaders also acknowledged the efforts of both governments in handling environmental issues.
The prime minister expressed gratitude and offered his best wishes to the custodian of the two holy mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and people of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince warmly reciprocated with best wishes for health and wellbeing of the prime minister, and prayers for the progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021