Kingdom will always provide 'good offices' to ease Pak-India ties: Saudi FM

Published September 21, 2021
In this file photo, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at the State Department, in Washington. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at the State Department, in Washington. — Reuters/File

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has said that the Kingdom will always provide its "good offices" when possible to resolve issues between Pakistan and India.

In an interview with The Hindu on Sunday during his three-day visit to India, he spoke on a myriad of topics including Afghanistan and Saudi-India ties.

Responding to a question about whether the Kingdom was disappointed with the fact that there aren't talks between India and Pakistan, he said: "We will always provide our good offices when we can, but it’s up to India and Pakistan to decide when the time is right."

The interviewer noted that one of the issues between India and the Kingdom were statements by the Saudi-led Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) regarding occupied Kashmir, the status of Indian Muslims and communal violence.

When asked whether he had discussed this in a meeting with his Indian counterpart, the Saudi minister said that these were "domestic issues".

"It is up to the people of India and to the government of India to address these concerns. And we would, of course, always support any initiatives in this regard that the Indian government takes, but from our perspective, it’s a domestic affair," he said.

Commenting on occupied Kashmir, he said that it was an issue that "continues to be a dispute" between the two countries.

"Therefore, what we would encourage is that there should be a focus on a path of dialogue and discussion among India and Pakistan to resolve these issues in a way that can settle these concerns permanently," he said.

Talking about the Taliban government in Afghanistan, he said that the new leadership had a responsibility to "exercise good judgment and good governance, to be inclusive, to bring in all people in Afghanistan, and to forge a path that can lead to stability, security and prosperity" while also accounting for the concerns of the international community.

He also called for providing aid and assistance to the war-torn country. "I think international aid is directed primarily for the benefit of the Afghan people and, therefore, our position is that aid should continue and should not be affected by these situations," he said in the interview.

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