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Saudi-Pakistani ties unshakable.

RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are to enhance cooperation in all areas, with a particular focus on the energy and agricultural sectors, according to sources. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met in Riyadh on Wednesday for bilateral discussions. "We give utmost importance to our brotherly ties with the Kingdom and King Salman has a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis," Sharif said, adding that the relations remain unshakable. Sharif is currently on a three-day visit to the Kingdom on an invitation from the king. He arrived at the Royal Terminal at King Khaled International Airport, and was received by King Salman and senior Cabinet ministers. The other dignitaries present included Crown Prince Muqrin, deputy premier, Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, ministers, members of the royal family, Charge de Affaires of the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad Yaseen Al-Kalidi and Pakistan Ambassador Manzur Ul Haq and his team. Arab News learned that the meeting was a positive and cordial interaction lasted for an hour at the palace. Sharif highlighted investment opportunities in Pakistan for Saudi entrepreneurs in energy and agriculture. The official delegation accompanying the visiting premier included the Minister of Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Chief Minister of Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Irfan Siddiqui, special adviser to the premier, and a number of senior officials. King Salman hosted a lunch in honor of the visiting premier at his palace. Saudi Arabia is home to more than 1.7 million Pakistanis whose remittances contribute substantially to the Pakistan economy. The annual trade volume between the two countries exceeds SR16.8 billion. Some 160,000 Haj pilgrims and more than 200,000 Umrah pilgrims arrive here every year. The talks were attended by various officials including Prince Saud Al-Faisal, minister of foreign affairs; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard; Prince Mohammed bin Salman, minister of defense, president of the Royal Court, and special adviser to the king; Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban; Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf; Culture and Information Minister Adel Al-Toraifi and Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Khalid. Sharif arrived in Jeddah later from where he is expected to go for Umrah on Thursday and visit the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah before his departure to Islamabad on Friday after Juma prayer.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 5, 2015
Words:424
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