Economic cooperation on menu at Saudi-Pakistani Joint Ministerial Commission meeting

Attendees included senior officials from various ministries of both countries. (Photo: Pakistan Press Information Department)
Updated 03 February 2018

Economic cooperation on menu at Saudi-Pakistani Joint Ministerial Commission meeting

ISLAMABAD/RIYADH: The Saudi-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) met in Islamabad on Tuesday to boost economic, investment and trade cooperation.
Attendees included senior officials from ministries of both countries, and the Saudi delegation was led by Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said.
Pakistan’s ambassador in Riyadh, Khan Hasham bin Saddique, told Arab News: “The meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission signifies the continued and close ties of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”
The JMC was an important platform to review, deepen and diversify bilateral relations, in particular trade, investment and cultural relations, he said. It provided an overarching framework for progress on a short- and long-term basis.
“As Saudi Arabia successfully implements its Vision 2030 and Pakistan is set to accrue a huge developmental boost as a result of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), both countries have much to gain from their close collaboration,” he said.
Bin Saddique said that while the 11th session of the JMC was a continuation of close ties over decades, its timing, context and potential could turn it into a milestone event.
“We hope that through this forum, the two countries will be able to synergize their efforts to address their developmental needs,” he said. “The political will to do so already exists, as is evident from the high-level visits that have taken place in the recent past. Now it is up to the senior officials of the two countries to carry forward the vision of our leadership.”
Both sides agreed to simplify business-to-business interaction. Some 90 percent of Pakistan’s imports from Saudi Arabia are oil and petroleum products. Annual bilateral trade is around $2.5 billion, the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh said last year.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.