ISLAMABAD: In its first 2021 media briefing, Pakistan’s foreign office said the country’s relations with Saudi Arabia are strong and fraternal, as it rejected reports of a deterioration in ties.
- The statement comes as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi last week said Islamabad was expecting a Saudi delegation led by the foreign minister of the kingdom, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, to visit Pakistan in January.
- High-level delegations from Saudi Arabia’s energy sector are also expected to arrive in Islamabad to discuss investments in oil and gas, and other sectors.
- “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong fraternal ties and the two countries have always cooperated with each other on all matters of bilateral, regional and international importance. Pakistan greatly values its relations with Saudi Arabia,” foreign office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said on Friday.
- He added that the foreign office rejects “any insinuations regarding deterioration in Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations as baseless and misleading.”
- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy deep-rooted strategic ties. Around 2.5 million Pakistani expats are living in the kingdom, which is the biggest single source of foreign remittances to the South Asian nation.
- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has made five trips to Saudi Arabia in two years. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also made a two-day visit to Islamabad in February 2019.