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PM Nawaz for new era of strategic relationship with S Arabia

21 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday Pakistan and Saudi Arabia need to start a new era of strategic relationship to further broaden and deepen the existing cordial bilateral relations.

The prime minister expressed these views while talking to Prince Suleman bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, deputy defence minister of Saudi Arabia, who called on him at the PM's House.

The prime minister said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy very cordial and brotherly relations based on historic bonds, mutual trust and understanding. He said in view of the current challenges, there was a need to further strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries. On the regional situation, the prime minister said that "Pakistan reiterates its keen support for the peace process in Afghanistan and believes that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in regional interest".

Nawaz appreciated the Saudi government's role in implementation of the United Nation's Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. He said that Pakistan remains committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms.

"We have suffered enormous human and financial losses in the fight against terrorism. However, these losses have not dented our resolve to fight this menace," he added.

He said Pakistan supports all efforts aimed at strengthening unity among the Islamic countries. Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif and Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al-Ghadeer were also present at the meeting.

Separately, the Saudi deputy defence minister called on Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at General Headquarters on Monday. The meeting was followed up by delegation level bilateral talks, said an ISPR press release.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security and enhanced bilateral defence collaboration including training exchange programme were discussed.

The Saudi official also called on Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Rashad Mahmood on Monday.

According to ISPR, the two dignitaries discussed matters related to mutual interests and ongoing cooperation between the two armed forces, reiterating the resolve to further strengthen the level of bondage and brotherly relations, living up to all challenges.

During a meeting with Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, the Saudi deputy minister of defence said on Monday establishment of Joint Military Cooperation Committee (JMCC) as well as Military Cooperation Committee (MCC) would prove beneficial forums to improve defence cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi official also showed keen interest in defence products being produced at Pakistan Defence Industries.

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