Imran’s upcoming Saudi visit to reassure bilateral ties

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Imran’s upcoming Saudi visit to reassure bilateral ties

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday to reassure the Kingdoms leadership that ties between the two nations remain firm despite Islamabads engagement with other Muslim countries, it was reported on Friday.

The visit, an Arab source disclosed, has been recently planned after signals from Riyadh that it was not happy with Khan’s decision to attend a Kuala Lumpur summit from December 18-20, Dawn news reported.

The Kuala Lumpur summit is the brainchild of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Other leaders participating in the summit are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.

The plan for the summit was finalised during a trilateral meeting involving Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia in September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Meanwhile, Khan earlier dispatched Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to mollify Riyadh, where he met his counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the two foreign ministers besides talking on the bilateral agenda also “discussed the latest developments at regional and international arenas”.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal, at his weekly briefing on Thursday, said: “High-level political exchanges between the two countries are the hallmark of this brotherly bilateral relationship… The Prime Minister has undertaken at least three visits to Saudi Arabia since May this year.”

Khan had over the past few months attempted to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

However, much like past efforts in this regard, the latest initiative too did not get much success.

Faisal, responding to a question on the mediation project, said: “We continue to make sincere efforts.”

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