PM Khan meets Saudi king, crown prince in Jeddah

Prime Minister Imran Khan met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his maiden visit to the kingdom DawnNews TV reported on Wednesday.

During his meeting with the royals, the prime minister discussed matters of regional and bilateral interest. The leaders also talked about economic relations between the two countries.

On his arrival in Jeddah, the prime minister was presented with a guard of honour and the national anthems of both countries were played. King Salman held a banquet for the premier and his delegation.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also hosted a dinner for PM Khan when the leaders met. The prime minister commended the crown prince's vision to turn Saudi Arabia into a modern economy.

During their meeting, the leaders discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations as well as steps that can be taken to enhance cooperation in political, defence, economic, commercial and cultural sectors. They also discussed challenges that are being faced by the Muslim world.

PM Khan brought up the issues of Pakistani expatriates living in Saudi Arabia as well.

The prime minister also highlighted the human rights offences by the Indian army in held Kashmir. The leaders reaffirmed their support for Palestine's struggle for an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The premier extended an invitation for the crown prince to visit Pakistan, which was accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership.

This is Khan's first foreign tour as prime minister. Talking to Al Arabiya, he said that "anyone who comes to power in Pakistan will visit Saudi Arabia first” as the two countries share a "strong people to people relationship".

"Saudi Arabia has in the past helped Pakistan when [the country] has been in need," he said.

The prime minister held a meeting with the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as well. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Finance Minister Asad Umar meets Saudi Minister of Finance. — Photo courtesy: *Arab News* Twitter
Finance Minister Asad Umar meets Saudi Minister of Finance. — Photo courtesy: Arab News Twitter

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Asad Umar — who is accompanying PM Khan — met his Saudi counterpart Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan as they discussed "aspects of financial and economic cooperation".

Information Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry — also part of the premier's delegation — met the Saudi Minister of Media Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad earlier in the day. The two discussed ways to expand media cooperation between the two states.

Later in the day, the prime minister and his delegation travelled to the UAE where they were received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The premier, accompanied by Qureshi and the prime minister's adviser on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, as well as Umer and Chaudhry, landed in Madinah on Tuesday. He was received at the airport by the governor of Medina, Shahzada Faisal Bin Salman, and Pakistan's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hasham Bin Siddique.

On his arrival in Makkah last night, PM Khan and his delegation performed Umrah. The doors of the Holy Kaaba were opened for the prime minister, where he offered prayers.

Pakistan would like to play a reconciliatory role in Muslim world, says PM Khan

During his interview to Al Arabiya, PM Khan said that Pakistan wanted to play a reconciliatory role in the Muslim world.

"We feel that it's very important that there should not be any conflict in the Muslim world," the premier said and added that there were already several conflicts plaguing the Muslim world, "starting from Libya to Somalia, to Syria, Afghanistan... Pakistan has [also] suffered a lot".

"Conflict in the Muslim world is weakening all of us. Ideally, Pakistan would like to play a role of putting out these fires."

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