Pakistan, Saudi Arabia hold defense cooperation talks

Jan. 21, 2014 at 12:48 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia began bilateral defense cooperation talks with sources telling Dawn Riyadh may be interested in acquiring Pakistani military hardware.

The talks opened in Islamabad with the Saudi side being led by

Deputy Defense Minister Prince Suleman bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Dawn reported.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who met with the Saudi minister Monday, called for a new era of strategic bilateral relationship to further broaden and deepen the existing cordial bilateral relations, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported. Sharif said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia already enjoy cordial and brotherly relations, but that there is need to further strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries in view of current challenges.

Prior to the current talks, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal had visited Islamabad earlier this month when the two sides agreed to reinvigorate their defense relationship and left it to their defense experts to work out the details, Dawn said.

Prince Suleman opened the talks with Pakistani military authorities at the general headquarters in Islamabad. The visitor also met with Pakistan's new army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif (no relation to the Pakistani prime minister).

Details of the talks were not available, but Dawn quoted sources as saying Saudi Arabia is interested in procuring military hardware produced in Pakistan and military training.

Prince Suleman praised Pakistani army's "professionalism and combat efficiency" and paid tribute to the "bravery and sacrifices" of Pakistani troops in the war on terrorism, the report said.

The Saudis have been concerned about Iran's nuclear program.

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