Riyadh seeks Beijing’s help to end Syria crisis

Updated 15 March 2014
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Riyadh seeks Beijing’s help to end Syria crisis

Saudi Arabia on Thursday called on China to assist in finding a speedy and peaceful solution to the three-year Syrian crisis based on the Geneva 1 resolutions, and help end the Israeli occupation of Arab territories to pave the way for an independent Palestinian state.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, made the call during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which explored prospects of expanding bilateral cooperation. Xi vowed to strengthen strategic partnerships between the two countries.
In his keynote speech, at a reception hosted by the Chinese president at the Great Hall of the People, Prince Salman said his visit was to expand relations between two of Asia's economic giants.
“We would like to strengthen bilateral relations in political, economic, commercial, industrial and cultural fields as well as in the energy and investment sectors to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development for our nations and serve global peace and security,” the crown prince said.
Prince Salman said the Kingdom was looking forward to China using its political and economic influence to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and establish an independent Palestinian state based on UN Security Council resolutions and Arab peace initiatives. Prince Salman said King Abdullah’s interfaith dialogue initiative was helping to achieve these peace objectives. He praised China’s positive stance on the Palestinian issue.


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in Madinah during maiden visit to Saudi Arabia

Updated 1 min 36 sec ago
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in Madinah during maiden visit to Saudi Arabia

  • Although bilateral relations and regional security are on the agenda of Imran Khan’s visit, a more urgent priority will be a possible economic bailout package from the KSA
  • The prime minister will call on King Salman and hold a bilateral meeting with the crown prince, said the Pakistan Foreign Office

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, beginning the initial leg of his first foreign tour since taking office in August.
The premier was welcomed at Madinah Airport by the Governor of Madinah, Faisal bin Salman, Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hasham bin Saddique, and other members of the Pakistani consulate.
Khan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, is also scheduled to perform Umrah during his two-day stay in Saudi Arabia.
“The prime minister will call on His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz and hold a bilateral meeting with the crown prince (His Royal Highness Mohammad Bin Salman). The king will also host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court. Accompanying ministers will also meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation,” reads a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, will also call on the PM during his visit.
Although bilateral relations and the regional security situation are on the agenda of Khan’s visit, a more pertinent, urgent priority will be a possible economic bailout package sought from Saudi Arabia by the new Pakistani Government.
In 2014, six months after Pakistan obtained its last IMF bailout, Saudi Arabia loaned Pakistan $1.5 billion, which the government used to strengthen its currency. Pakistan’s current account deficit increased to 43 percent ($18 billion) in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Analysts, however, told Reuters that a fresh bailout package from the IMF, which would be Pakistan’s 13th since the late 1980s, is inevitable.
While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Government has been debating several options to plug the hole in Pakistan’s rapidly draining foreign exchange reserves, it is also avidly trying to seek financial assistance from allied countries (including Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE) as opposed to going to the IMF.
Before the visit, Finance Minister Asad Umar said that IMF assistance would remain a “fallback option.”