Pakistan and Saudi Arabia call for dialogue on Kashmir issue

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Saturday expre­ssed desire for resolution of Kas­hmir dispute through dialogue and Afghan conflict through political settlement, Dawn reported.

A joint statement, which is being considered a significant development with Saudi Arabia calling for dialogue to resolve the longstanding issue of Kashmir, was issued by the two Muslim countries on the second day of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s three-day visit to the kingdom, the report said.

The two sides emphasised the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region, according to the joint statement, the report added.

Saudi Crown Prince Moham­med bin Salman, after a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Khan, acknowledged Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process and welcomed the recent understanding reached between the military authorities of Pakistan and India regarding ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between Pakistan and India.

Last year Islamabad had expected Riyadh to support Pakistan over the Kashmir crisis, particularly through a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC. However, Saudi Arabia turned down the request and called for return of $1 billion loan on Pakistan’s insistence to call the foreign ministers’ meeting. Consequently, Pakistan had to obtain loan from China to pay back the loan to the kingdom.

While discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan and Saudi leadership agreed to continue mutual consultations on the Afghan peace process. They underlined that an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement was the only way forward and urged the Afghan parties to realise the historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement.

The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination to safeguard mutual interests and to continue supporting each other at multilateral fora. They underlined the importance of the commitment by all states to the UN Charter, the principles and decisions of international legitimacy, as well as adherence to the principles of good neighbourly relations, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and the endeavour to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

PM Khan and Prince Salman reaffirmed the historical and fraternal ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, reviewed all facets of bilateral cooperation and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. They discussed ways to strengthen relations in all fields and agreed to boost cooperation between the governments as well as private sectors of the two countries.

The prime minister recalled his visits to the kingdom in 2018 and 2019 and the historic visit of the Saudi crown prince, deputy prime minister, minister of defence to Pakistan in February 2019 during which the two sides had announced the launch of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council. (Dawn)

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