President Zardari, King Abdullah vow to further deepen Pak-Saudi ties, economic cooperation

JEDDAH: President Asif Ali Zardari and King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reiterated their resolve to further deepen the bilateral relations and lay greater stress on economic cooperation.

The two leaders, who met here in the Royal Palace, held extensive discussions on bilateral ties, situation in the Middle East and South Asian region and the fight against militancy. Briefing media, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that President Zardari soon after arrival here on a two-day visit to the brotherly country held a 75-minute long meeting with the Saudi King in the Royal Palace in Jeddah.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud were also present.About the situation in Middle East President Zardari said that Pakistan favoured political stability and was against the use of violence.King Abdullah praised Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against militancy and said the Kingdom was a steadfast friend of Pakistan through thick and thin.Later, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud hosted a reception in honour of President Asif Ali Zardari.Earlier upon arrival at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, President Zardari was received by Second Deputy Premier and Minister for Interior Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Governor Makkah Prince Khalid Al Faisal and the Mayor of Jeddah.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan, Consul General Abdul Salik Khan, Senior Saudi Protocol Officers, dignitaries and Pakistani Officials were also present at the airport to receive the President.The President is accompanied by Minister for Interior Rehman Malik and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar.Farhatullah Babar said that the visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and taking forward the consultative process on issues of peace, security and political stability in countries of the region that have recently been witnessing violence and turmoil.

The visit comes on the heels of President Zardari’s whirlwind tours of Iran and Afghanistan during which he held series of meetings with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.As a special gesture, the Saudi government accepted the credentials of new Pakistan envoy Muhammad Naeem Khan within hours of his arrival in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. – APP