Our staff reporter/APP
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday signed two agreements under which the latter will provide a total of around $183 million for the import of Urea fertilizer from Saudi Arabia and the construction of a hydro-power project in Chitral.
The signing ceremony held here at the PM House was witnessed by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Saudi Development Fund Vice Chairman/Managing Director Yousef Bin Ibrahim Al-Bassam and Economic Affairs Secretary Nargis Sethi signed the agreements on behalf of their respective sides. Under the first agreement, Saudi Arabia will provide a credit facility of $125 million for the import of Urea fertilizer from Saudi Arabia.
Whereas under the second agreement, Saudi Arabia will provide an additional loan of $57.8 million for the construction of a 106 MW Golen Gol hydro-power project at River Mastuj in Chitral.
Besides the members of Saudi delegation, the ceremony was also attended by Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security Sartaj Aziz, Finance Minister Ishaaq Dar, Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and other senior officials.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office issued the following joint statement on the conclusion of the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence.
It said that at the kind invitation of Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence, paid an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 15-17 Rabie Thani 1435, 15-17 February, 2014.
The warm reception and cordial welcome accorded to the Crown Prince and his accompanying delegation by President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and senior officials, embodied the bonds of strong fraternal ties binding the two countries. The exuberant popular reception also reflected the depth of affection and respect the Pakistani people have for the Kingdom and its people under the leadership of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. During the visit, the Crown Prince held talks with the President, the Prime Minister and other high level officials.
These meetings were held in very cordial atmosphere signifying the fraternal bonds characterized by deep mutual understanding and cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries and their peoples. There was a keen desire to further strengthen cooperation in various fields for the promotion of the causes of the Muslim Ummah as well as international peace and stability.
The two sides called for taking advantage of the opportunities available in the two brotherly countries for expanding and improving investment, trade, energy, infrastructure development, agriculture and exchange of government’s delegations for mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.
The two sides decided to continue to work on further fortifying existing political relations between the two countries through regular holding of bilateral consultations between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries. The two sides also agreed on the need to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of defence.
Both sides acknowledged importance of completing necessary measures for signing of the agreements and MoUs in different fields including Islamic Affairs and endowments, labour, manpower, sports and an agreement to encourage and protect mutual investment in the two countries.The two sides reiterated the need for finding of a quick solution of the existing conflict in Syria according to Geneva I Resolution in order to restore peace and security in Syria and prevent bloodshed of the brotherly Syrian people. In this regard both sides called for the following: Importance of immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed forces and elements from Syrian territory; lifting siege of the Syrian towns and villages and stopping aerial and artillery bombardment; the setting up of safe corridors and regions to deliver food and humanitarian aid to besieged Syrian citizens, under international supervision; the formation of transitional governing body with full executive powers enabling it to take charge of the affairs of the country.
On the Palestinian issue, the two sides reaffirmed their consistent stand to support the Palestinian right to arrive at a just solution which leads to establishment of Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital. The two sides reiterated the need for stopping Israeli practices including continuation of building settlements and putting impediments to peace efforts. The two sides emphasized that the peace efforts should be based on Arab peace initiatives and the relevant UN Resolutions.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to fight extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and continue to cooperate in the field of exchange of security related information. They also emphasized the importance of security cooperation to combat the crimes of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The Saudi side expressed hope for reaching peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions so that it contributes to the achievement of a permanent peace and stability in the region. The Saudi side welcomed the positive developments in Indo-Pakistan relations, which would reflect positively in the interest of the two neighbouring countries and stability in the South Asian region.
On the situation in Afghanistan, the two sides expressed their support for Afghan reconciliation by including all sides and components of the Afghan society to arrive at restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
They underlined support for the political process through holding the elections scheduled for April 2014.
The Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence, thanked the government and people of Pakistan for the warm reception and hospitality the Crown Prince and the accompanying delegation has received.