ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will hold in depth bilateral consultations next week in Riyadh on the desire of King Abdullah, sources said on Friday.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar accepted the invitation from her Saudi counterpart to visit the Kingdom without giving second thought and scheduled her visit for January 1.

Well-placed diplomatic sources told TheNation that King Abdullah soon after his recent successful surgery desired to have update from Pakistan on matters of commons interest between the two brotherly countries. According to the sources this followed a formal invitation from Saudi Foreign Minister to his Pakistan counterpart Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar who is scheduled to visit the Kingdom on January 1.

Foreign Office spokesman Muazam Ahmed Khan when approached partially confirmed that King Abdullah who has been ill and recently recovered wanted an update from Pakistan on various issues of common interest. However, he rejected the impression that Foreign Minister was perhaps visiting Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation in Syria. “ This is absolutely incorrect,” he said while referring to reports carried out by a section of the national press.

He made it clear that Pakistan wants a peaceful resolution of Syrian crisis in order to forestall any threat to its integrity that would have far reaching consequences on the regional countries.

“These are just bilateral consultations between the two strategic partners wherein regional and international issues of common interest would also come under discussion”, he said, adding that situation in Afghanistan would figure high during these interactions. The last consultations held between the foreign ministers of the two countries were in April 2012. 

“Since Afghanistan is core issue of common interest of the two countries, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would be discussing in Afghanistan at length during the visit of the Foreign Minister”, Khan said. He noted that two countries would discuss the Afghan-led reconciliation process being facilitated by Pakistan.

Other sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who requested not to named said that the Foreign Minister Khar would also apprise the Saudi leadership about Pakistan’s efforts fight terrorism which caused immense loss to the Islamic Republic, Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Sources further said that the Foreign Minister would also discuss the key role of Saudi Arabia in facilitating Pakistan’s inclusion in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at the earliest.