KARACHI: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday reiterated Pakistan’s firm support for the safety and security of Saudi Arabia and said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could play a vital role in expanding political and economic ties between Islamabad and the Gulf states.
The foreign minister, who is on a visit to Saudi Arabia, held separate meetings with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and GCC Secretary General Dr Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf in Riyadh.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Prince Faisal jointly chaired the inaugural session of the Ministerial Committee of the Political and Security Pillar of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Committee, says a Foreign Office press release.
Both sides held wide-ranging discussions on a host of issues related to political and security domains.
Bilawal holds talks with Saudi counterpart, says GCC can help boost ties between Pakistan and Gulf nations
FM Bhutto-Zardari stressed the importance of continued coordination between the two countries on “combating activities of terrorist groups that aim to undermine the security and stability of the regional countries”.
He highlighted the need to strengthen “institutionalised linkages between the two countries to counter threats in the security domain, including cybersecurity, counterterrorism and its financing, organised crimes, drug trafficking and money laundering”.
He expressed satisfaction on the existing military and defence ties between the two brotherly countries and underscored Pakistan’s commitment to bolstering cooperation in this area.
Underscoring the longstanding fraternal and strategic ties between the two countries, the foreign minister expressed his resolve to strengthen cooperation across entire spectrum of bilateral relations to realise the aspirations of the leaderships of the two countries, achieve common objectives and push their relationship to reach greater horizons.
The two sides shared assessment of the changing regional and global environments and reaffirmed their commitment to continue coordination on all issues of common concern, including India-held Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.
The meeting was held under the framework of Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council. The framework is chaired by the prime ministers of both countries. Senior officials from the ministries of foreign, defence, interior and the security and intelligence services of both countries attended the meeting.
Meeting with GCC official
The foreign minister and GCC Secretary General Dr Al-Hajraf reviewed the status of Pakistan’s ongoing engagements and cooperation with the GCC and its member states.
The FM expressed satisfaction on the trajectory of the relationship and underscored the need for continuing this momentum going forward.
He highlighted the need for early finalisation of the ongoing negotiations on Pakistan-GCC free trade agreements and asked technical teams from both sides to synergise their efforts to achieve this common objective.
He said Pakistan wanted to strengthen institutional linkages with the GCC and its member states, in line with the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue between the two sides.
He said Pakistan would be ready to host the next round of strategic dialogue at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad.
Both sides shared views on regional and global issues. Mr Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan and the GCC countries had convergences of interests and positions on all issues of common concern.
Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2022