ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday dismissed speculation that ties between Islamabad and Riyadh have soured, adding that both countries were each others' "support and necessity".
"Pakistan and Saudi Arabia's ties are and were always better," said the foreign minister, speaking to Geo News. "I think no one understands the depth of our relations with each other. We are each others' necessity and support," he added.
He pointed towards Saudi Arabia's stance on the issue of Israel, adding that the kingdom had not strayed from its historic position on the issue and that Pakistan held the same view.
FM Qureshi said that Gen Bajwa recently visited Riyadh where he held important meetings. He expressed the desire for future meetings to be held with Saudi Arabia on important issues, hoping that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia both fulfill the targets and expectations they had of each other.
Kashmir important for both China and Pakistan
The foreign minister spoke about his visit to China, stating that lots of developments had taken place over the past one year that needed to be discussed between the two countries.
"Pakistan, with the help of China, raised the issue of occupied Kashmir three times at the UN Security Council in one year," he said. "China had a standoff with India as well on occupied Kashmir, which has not ended. Hence, you can see that Kashmir is important for both countries," he added.
The minister said that Pakistan and China will also discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan, as both the government and Taliban move closer towards a political settlement after the exchange of prisoners there.
FM Qureshi revealed that before the trip, he held detailed discussions with PM Imran and Gen Bajwa. He said that people from the Foreign Office and those representing the GHQ were also accompanying him on the trip.
He said that CPEC will also come under discussion during his visit and both countries have to discuss the time frame of certain schemes that are part of the project, which include Gwadar, and also deliberate on its targets.
FM Qureshi arrives in China
Qureshi Thursday arrived in southern China’s Hainan province to attend the second meeting of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. He will lead the Pakistani side while the Chinese side will be led by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson said the visit would help the two countries enhance strategic mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation and strengthen close coordination on international and regional affairs.
“This dialogue mechanism is a platform for the two sides to coordinate exchanges and cooperation in various fields, make policy suggestions on the development of bilateral ties and enhance coordination and co-communication on the international and regional issues,” the spokesperson said. The first dialogue was held in Beijing last year on March 19, which led to many consensuses and played an important role in the development of bilateral relations.