ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, through close strategic and economic cooperation, are making headway in achieving the targets of development, Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said Monday.
“We are developing a roadmap with set targets ahead in areas including counter-terrorism, economy, people-to-people contacts and culture to further deepen our relations,” the Saudi Minister said here at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Adel al-Jubeir said Saudi investment was meant to contribute to the economic growth of Pakistan. “This is not charity, but investment for the benefit of the two countries,” he said, in response to a question on the $20 billion investment, announced by Saudi Arabia for initiating several development projects in Pakistan.
The Saudi minister mentioned the seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), signed Monday as witnessed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House, and said cooperation between the two countries had been institutionalized for effective implementation.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said 10 joint working groups had been formed under the Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council, which would meet every three months.
He said the Council would coordinate in areas including security, defence, intelligence sharing and energy and the leadership would oversee the implementation of projects, he added.
“The Council is a comprehensive plan with well-laid design which will fulfill the vision of the leaders of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” he said He expressed gratitude to Saudi government for revising the visa fees for Pakistani visitors and pilgrims.
He mentioned that strong economic ties with Saudi Arabia would greatly benefit the Pakistani diaspora with immense employment opportunities as the country was opening up to the world through tourism and construction of two new cities in the kingdom.
Adel al-Jubeir lauded the Pakistani citizens including skilled labourers in Saudi Arabia for contributing constructively to the country’s development and mentioned the existing people-to-people contacts at university level and military academies.
On Afghanistan, the Saudi Minister said Saudi Arabia was in favour of peaceful solution to the problem and was also facilitating the peace process in close coordination with the Afghan government, Pakistan, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Taliban. On recent terrorist incident in Iran, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan was greatly upset on the tragedy and strongly condemned this act.
“We can never condone such activity and are ready to cooperate with Iran on intelligence sharing,” he said, adding that Pakistan fully respected the sovereignty of Iran.