Saudi Arabia could help reduce tensions between Pakistan, India: minister

Published May 10, 2021
In this file photo, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on August 19, 2020. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on August 19, 2020. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud has said his country could play a role in reducing tensions between Pakistan and India.

He said so while responding to a question during an interview with Pakistan Television that dealt in considerable detail with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s three-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Talking about the often poor relations between Pakistan and India, Prince Faisal praised the two nuclear-armed neighbours for reviving and reinstating a ceasefire along the restive Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region. He termed the move “an excellent step in the right direction”.

Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Washington recently confirmed that his country had played a key role in bringing about the ceasefire along the LoC. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said the ceasefire would hopefully lead to “restoring diplomats and getting the relationship back to a healthy level”. The UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

Prince Faisal describes Imran’s visit as an extremely important one for bilateral relations

During the interview taken via video link, Prince Faisal characterised Prime Minister Khan’s visit to his country as “an extremely important one in the history of bilateral relations”.

“The visit of Imran Khan is extremely important in the history of brotherly relations. We have an excellent visit of the prime minister and many, many subjects (have been) covered,” he said.

During the talks in Saudi Arabia, he said, the two countries’ leaders focused on economic cooperation, facilitation of investment and trade.

During the visit the two countries worked together to enhance cooperation not just on issues of bilateral interest but also problems facing the entire Ummah, said the Saudi foreign minister.

Terming an increase in the number of blasphemous acts in Western countries “a dangerous trend”, the minister praised Mr Khan’s role in efforts to counter Islamophobia. “The OIC should be used to address such issues of intolerance,” he said.

“There must be a dialogue on how to address the escalating tone of disrespect (against) Islam and the Muslim nations need to come together to address the issue.

“We are very proud that Pakistan is taking it to the heart,” adding that Saudi Arabia was working closely with PM Khan to address the concerns.

He said the bilateral agreement for establishment of Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council was important to “institutionalise and nurture the political, security cooperation and most importantly economic cooperation”.

Referring to the joint statement issued on Saturday, Prince Faisal said both the sides would work to activate the council in order to realise the full potential of relations between the two countries and achieve tangible results.

Asked about the green initiatives of Saudi government, he said Pakistan was also playing a leading role in that regard. “I am sure we will work together to align both the (Saudi and Pakistani) initiatives and to learn from each other and benefit from each other’s experiences. Strong bilateral relations mean that we can partner on issues not only bilateral but also of global nature.”

He told the interviewers that Saudi Arabia had implemented significant labour reforms, showing flexibility and allowing the workers to “transfer their work from one employer to other”.

Under its vision 2030, he said, the Saudi government planned to widen its employment base, which would open up opportunities for Pakistani nationals as well as businesses. He said Pakistan had a very important role to play for a peaceful Afghanistan and the kingdom would work closely with the international community to help Afghanistan “find security and stability”.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2021

Opinion

Between boom and bust
Updated 24 Jun 2021

Between boom and bust

Ultimately the budget, and its aim to pump growth, will be left standing on two legs only — free oil and free dollars from abroad.
Judging without law
Updated 24 Jun 2021

Judging without law

The Supreme Court has yet to formulate a detailed procedure to conduct cases having far-reaching impacts on people’s lives.
Cold war II
23 Jun 2021

Cold war II

China and the West must find a better way.

Editorial

PM on Afghanistan
Updated 24 Jun 2021

PM on Afghanistan

Points raised by PM need to be pondered by all sides — specifically Afghan govt and Taliban — if a civil war is to be avoided.
24 Jun 2021

Third-party interest

WHAT should be done when third-party interest has been created where construction has been done illegally? It is an...
24 Jun 2021

Electricity policy

THE Council of Common Interests has unanimously approved the National Electricity Policy 2021 that will focus on...
PM’s views on rape
Updated 23 Jun 2021

PM’s views on rape

Rape is a crime primarily of power rather than lust, rooted in a contempt for others’ bodily integrity.
23 Jun 2021

Gas concerns

CONSUMERS face the prospect of ominous blackouts next month owing to the closure of two gas fields in Sindh, the ...
23 Jun 2021

New Iranian president

SAYYID Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president, is taking over at a time of great geopolitical flux, while the Islamic...