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Saudi Arabia vows to back Pakistan come rain or shine

21 July, 2011

JEDDAH: President Asif Ali Zardari exchanging views with the king of Saudi Arabia Shah Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz at his palace. APP
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JEDDAH: Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on Wednesday vowed to back Pakistan, saying the Saudi Kingdom was a steadfast friend of Pakistan through “thick and thin”.

The pledge by the Saudi king came as President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Jeddah on a two-day official trip. Zardari’s 75-minute long meeting with King Abdullah at the Royal Palace in Jeddah focussed on promoting bilateral ties, fighting terrorism and current situation in the Middle East and South Asian region. The two leaders reiterated their resolve to further deepen the bilateral relations and lay greater stress on economic cooperation.

President Zardari told King Abdullah that Pakistan favoured political stability in Middle East and was against the use of violence. The king praised Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, and assured Zardari of Saudia’s continuing support.

According to the presidential spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud were also present during the meeting. Babar said the president’s visit was 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 had recently been witnessing violence and turmoil.

Earlier, upon his 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, Makkah Governor 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 accord welcome to the president. 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.

End.

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