Islamabad, Riyadh to forge common stand: Regional issues, Islam's image

Posted in Broader Middle East | 22-Feb-05 | Source: (Pakistan)

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
RIYADH, Feb 21: With complete unanimity of views on all major issues, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have decided to forge a common stand on regional issues.

During an extended meeting between Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz here, the two sides also agreed to work jointly to project the true image of Islam in the world.

The two sides emphasized the need to further enhance the bilateral relations between the two states. Condemning terrorism, the two leaders termed the assassination of the former Lebanon prime minister Rafik Hariri as condemnable. They felt that by the assassination of Mr Hariri, the Muslim world had lost an enlightened and moderate leader.

The two leaders discussed the volatile regional situation in detail and its repercussion on their respective countries. The threats to the region and ways and means to counter them were also discussed between the two leaders.

Situation in Iraq, Palestine and Kashmir were specifically discussed during the meeting. The Saudi crown prince expressed his delight at the turnaround of the Pakistan economy over the last five years.

According to Pakistani sources, the crown prince congratulated the Pakistani leadership on the current health of Pakistan economy. He assured Mr Aziz that all steps would be taken to promote investments and development in Pakistan.

Earlier in the afternoon, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz made a formal call on Khadmain Al Harmain Al Sharifain King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. During the meeting the two sides discussed matters of mutual interest.

Mr Aziz congratulated the Saudi government on the successful completion and the arrangements of the Haj season. King Fahd extended the best wishes of the Saudi government and the people towards Pakistan. He underlined the exemplary and historic relation between the two states.

Later in the evening, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz also met the prime minister. They discussed the ongoing security cooperation between the two states. Pakistan has recently signed an agreement on security cooperation with the Kingdom. Saudi cabinet endorsed the decision earlier this week in its weekly meeting.

On Sunday morning, Mr Aziz met with a number of senior journalists from Saudi media. The objective of the meetings was 'to correct the image' of Pakistan. Sources said that the entire exercise of the prime minister this time, including his presentation at the Jeddah Economic Forum, was aimed at improving the overall image of Pakistan.

The country suffered from an image problem and that needed to be rectified, so as to be able to attract investment from Saudi businessmen, a Pakistani diplomat told Dawn. The prime minister invited the Saudi investors to look into the possibilities of investing in Pakistan.