Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud says Pakistan-Saudi Supreme Coordination Council will help expand dimension of ties between two countries
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud on Tuesday stressed upon the importance of enhancing economic ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, adding that this was the primary focus of his meetings with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
“We focused very much on the economic side of the relationship and on opportunities to expand it beyond the traditional areas of investment,” he said of their meeting in Islamabad, where he is currently on a one-day visit. In addition, he said, bilateral coordination in technology and the environment should be increased.
Security and stability were key to economic prosperity, he said, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had agreed to help ensure stability in their respective regions. “We have agreed to work on regional issues, whether it’s Kashmir, Palestine or Yemen. We will work together to ensure stability in both our regions,” he said.
Recalling that the relationship between Riyadh and Islamabad spanned decades, and “was founded in brotherhood,” he said that the two countries had supported each other in various spheres and would continue to do so. Referring to the Pakistanis working in the Gulf kingdom, he said his government greatly valued the community’s contribution to Saudi Arabia’s economy and was looking to expand opportunities for it.
During the press conference, where he was flanked by Qureshi, al-Saud said that the kingdom wanted to expand its relationship with Pakistan through the Pakistan-Saudi Supreme Coordination Council, which was established in May.
During a three-day official visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had inked an agreement about the council, which would be co-chaired by both of them. The visiting Saudi dignitary said he hoped the council would turn out to be a “milestone in taking the relationship between [Saudi Arabia and Pakistan] to new levels, institutionalizing it and exploring all the opportunities that it has to offer.” He said he believed the council would prove to be a “more effective” tool to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing media, Qureshi claimed both countries were “very comfortable” with their bilateral relationship. “What we are focused now on is improving our economic linkages through enhancement of bilateral trade and promotion of investments,” he said, adding they hoped to achieve this through the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Consultative Council, whose makeup and objectives were discussed during his meeting with al-Saud.
“We have decided that there will be a focal person at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here and in Saudi Arabia to oversee the progress on the bilateral front,” he said. He said Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 was an area in which Pakistan could contribute. “Our skilled and semi-skilled professionals can make contributions to Vision 2030,” he said.
The foreign minister also highlighted the importance of building cultural ties through cultural diplomacy and said he and his Saudi counterpart had discussed opportunities for Saudi investors to participate in special economic zones established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.