Saudi FM meets counterpart Qureshi, PM Imran

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud departed Pakistan on Thursday after meeting his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on his one-day maiden visit to Islamabad.
A lunch was held by Qureshi for Prince Faisal and the Saudi delegation after the meetings.
The Saudi foreign minister had arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) office earlier today, where he was received by the Foreign Minister Qureshi. Both foreign ministers, during a delegation-level meeting, discussed bilateral relations, regional situation and matters of mutual interest.
Qureshi thanked Saudi Arabia for supporting Pakistan’s stance on occupied Kashmir and both sides agreed to continue holding bilateral meetings on the issue.
The delegation-level talks between the two sides were followed by a one-on-one meeting between Foreign Minister Qureshi and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal.
The Saudi foreign minister also held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, which was also attended by Qureshi.
This was the first visit by the current Saudi foreign minister since he assumed office in October.
Visit meant to thank PM for pulling out of KL Summit
Earlier, a diplomatic source told Dawn that the purpose of the trip is to thank PM Imran for not attending Kuala Lumpur Summit.
Examine: Last-minute pull out of KL Summit reflects PM’s Trumpian-style of dealing with foreign policy issues
The source, in one of the Arab diplomatic missions, disclosed that the visit was scheduled only a couple of days ago. “The purpose of the visit is to thank PM Khan for his decision of not attending KL summit, and express solidarity with Islamabad after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allegations that Saudi pressure forced Pakistan to skip the event,” he said, requesting anonymity.
“The Saudis also want to dispel the impression, which was reinforced by Erdogan’s allegations, that their attitude towards Islamabad is patronising,” he added.
Earlier this month, the prime minister had decided not to attend the KL Summit — which was held in Kuala Lumpur and was attended by leaders of Muslim countries including Iran, Qatar and Turkey as well as religious scholars. The decision was reportedly taken after Saudi Arabia expressed its displeasure over Pakistan’s decision to participate. Riyadh sees the summit as an attempt to present an alternative to the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The decision came as a surprise because Prime Minister Imran was one of the first leaders with whom Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad shared plans to hold the summit when the two met on the sidelines on the United Nations General Assembly session in September. Prime Minister Imran had confirmed his participation soon after.
Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had rejected the reports that Prime Minister Imran’s decision was taken due to pressure from Riyadh.

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