Saudi Arabia key to stability says Pakistani FM ahead of crown prince visit

Saudi Arabia plays an important role in maintaining regional peace and stability, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. (File/Reuters)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia key to stability says Pakistani FM ahead of crown prince visit

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plays an important role in maintaining regional peace and stability, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.
Speaking ahead of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan, Qureshi said that it is expected to lay the foundations for effective and comprehensive cooperation between the countries, and strengthen bilateral relations to “higher levels.”
“We are very pleased with the crown prince’s visit that seeks to establish effective communication at all levels. I expect this visit to have a significant impact in driving the solid ties between the two countries to higher levels,” Qureshi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Qureshi added that the Kingdom enjoys great influence and respect in Pakistan, and that the country aims to learn from Saudi Arabia’s example of fostering coexistence and moderation through organizing cultural activities and festivals.
The foreign minister also said that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contributed to pushing the Afghan peace process forward, and that Pakistan considers this “to be a very important role.
“Pakistan also played a role in this reconciliation and helped to overcome all difficulties. We hope that security and stability will prevail for all.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit as part of his upcoming tour of several countries in Asia.


Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

People pour to the streets in Caracas on July 22, 2019 as the capital and other parts of Venezuela are being hit by a massive power cut. (AFP)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

  • Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence

CARACAS: More than half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack.”
It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications.
The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence. He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service.
Power returned for about 10 minutes to parts of southeastern Bolivar state, site of the Guri hydroelectric dam — the source of most of Venezuela’s generation — but went out again, according to a Reuters witness. Electricity was still out throughout Caracas.
“It terrifies me to think we are facing a national blackout again,” said Maria Luisa Rivero, a 45-year-old business owner from the city of Valencia, in the central state of Carabobo.
“The first thing I did was run to freeze my food so that it does not go bad like it did like the last time in March. It costs a lot to buy food just to lose it,” she said.
The oil-rich country’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has led to widespread shortages in food and medicine, prompting over 4 million Venezuelans to leave the country.
Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.
“These blackouts are catastrophic,” said 51-year-old janitor Bernardina Guerra, who lives in Caracas. “I live in the eastern part of the city and there the lights go out every day. Each day things are worse.”