King Salman, Ghani explore Saudi-Afghan cooperation avenues

King Salman, Ghani explore Saudi-Afghan cooperation avenues
Updated 16 March 2015

King Salman, Ghani explore Saudi-Afghan cooperation avenues

King Salman, Ghani explore Saudi-Afghan cooperation avenues

Prospects for future Saudi-Afghan cooperation with special reference to the possible peace negotiations with the Taleban were discussed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday.
“The peace process was one of the key issues discussed by the two leaders,” said Afghan Ambassador Sayed Ahmad Omarkhil.
He told Arab News that King Salman and Ghani “reviewed a number of bilateral and regional issues of common concern” during their talks. “The summit talks dealt with bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries as well as the latest developments in the Islamic and international arenas,” said a report published by Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
In fact, the trip of Afghan president to Saudi Arabia comes at a time when Afghan government and the Taleban are reportedly preparing to hold peace talks soon. The Afghan envoy noted that “Saudi Arabia and the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) can play a good role in bringing peace to Afghanistan.”
The wide-ranging consultations between King Salman and Afghan president have wider significance in view of Ghani’s forthcoming visit to the US.
“The Afghan president would travel to the US within a few days,” said Omarkhil.
According to reports, the US is abandoning plans to cut the number of its forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of the year, bowing to military officials, who want to keep more troops there.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia has been an ally of Afghanistan and a major donor nation for that impoverished country. The Kingdom has funded several projects in that strife-torn country, including a multimillion-dollar highway project and a $100 million Islamic Center in Kabul.
The talks between King Salman and Ghani were attended by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.
Top Afghan officials, including presidential adviser on national security Mohammad Hanif Atmar, first deputy to chief executive Mohammad Khan, Minister of Haj and Endowment, Faiz Mohammad Osmani, acting minister of education Shafiq Samim, head of high peace council Masoom Stanikzai and Presidential Palace spokesman Ajmal Abidi attended the talks and the lunch banquet hosted by King Salman.