ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Pervez Khattak has said that Pakistan values its ties with Saudi Arabia and is looking to diversify the cooperation between the two countries.

Mr Khattak was talking to Saudi envoy Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Maliky, who had called on him here on Monday.

“We consider Saudi Arabia as a confident and a trust-worthy friend and we would like to continue with the same pace and momentum,” the minister said.

“The scope and scale of cooperation between the two countries is a very huge; therefore, we should further diversify our relations,” he added.

The Saudi envoy has visited several key government figures ever since Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s criticism of the Saudi-led Organisation of Islamic Cooperation created a perception of rift in ties. He had met Mr Qureshi as well on Sept 1.

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had visited Saudi Arabia last month for defence talks. His visit helped overcome the hiccup in ties.

Mr Al-Maliky said Saudi Arabia’s relations with Pakistan were based on mutual trust.

He said the kingdom was deeply committed to working with Pakistan and its people to further expand these ties.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020

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