Saudi Arabia, Pakistan to strengthen ties

April 25, 2011 at 1:00 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 25 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia and Pakistan agreed to enhance their ties at a time when the Arab world remains concerned about Iran, sources told Dawn newspaper.

The agreement about strengthening Saudi-Pakistani ties came Sunday during a meeting in Riyadh of visiting Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and her Saudi host Nizar bin Obaid Madani, Pakistan's Dawn reported.

The report, citing diplomatic sources, said there is a perception in Riyadh and other Persian Gulf capitals that Iran is interfering in internal affairs of Arab countries.

"That was the prime reason for the flurry of diplomatic exchanges between Islamabad and Riyadh," the report quoted a senior diplomat as saying. "And Iran must have figured prominently during the discussion."

Sources told Dawn Saudi Arabia wants Pakistan to use its influence and good relations with Iran to address the Arab concerns.

Pakistani sources told the newspaper Saudi Arabia also assured of its support to help Islamabad in its efforts to protect its interests in Afghanistan.

Khar also met Saudi leaders and number of other officials during her visit.

In an earlier report, Dawn said although Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have had close ties going back 60 years, some political observers have said those ties had lost some of their warmth since the coalition government led by the Pakistan People's Party came to power in 2008.

But that situation has changed with a number of Arab countries facing popular uprisings, which in turn have brought Pakistan's role in the region into renewed focus, the report said.

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