Pakistan, Saudi Arabia agree to bolster defence cooperation
Army Chief General Asim Munir holds talks with Saudi Crown Prince in his royal tent: Both leaders also resolve to cement bilateral ties
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Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to bolster military-to-military and defence cooperation between the two countries, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Monday.
The agreement reached during a meeting between Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi Crown Prince received the Pakistani Army Chief in his royal tent in AlUla and congratulated him on become the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army.
The meeting discussed ways to develop bilateral relations in addition to issues of mutual interest and both the leaders agreed to further cement the relationship.
Senior Saudi and Pakistani officials also attended the meeting.
سمو سيدي #ولي_العهد وقائد الجيش الباكستاني يستعرضان العلاقات الثنائية وفرص تطويرها. pic.twitter.com/yHOo6Jw6mi— بندر الجلعود (@Bandaralgaloud) January 9, 2023
Earlier, General Asim Munir had held talks with Saudi defence minister on his first official trip to the Gulf kingdom. General Munir had discussed military cooperation with Saudi Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz in the capital Riyadh on Thursday last, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
General Asim Munir, who took charge in November, has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors in visiting Saudi Arabia – a close defence and economic ally – on his maiden overseas trip. He will also visit the United Arab Emirates during the nearly one-week trip.
Pleased to meet H.E General Asim Munir, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff. We emphasized the strategic partnership between our brotherly countries, reviewed the bilateral military and defense relations, and discussed ways of strengthening our cooperation. pic.twitter.com/HAtcNKX6O3— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) January 4, 2023
Holy Kaaba’s doors opened for COAS
General Asim Munir also visited Majid Al-Haram in Makkah where the doors of the Holy Kaaba were exclusively opened for him.
In pictures and video clips posted on social media on Sunday, the army chief could be seen walking out of the Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Honored Ka'bah doors open for #COAS Asim Munir. COAS entered Holy Ka'bah while performing Umrah during his 7 days visit to the Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/q8tsLQ5TSP— Umar Khattak عمر خټک (@iUmarKhattak) January 8, 2023
Another video clip shared on social media showed Gen Asim Munir visiting the Masjid-e-Nabwi, as Saudi security personnel escorted the military commander.
COAS Asim Munir pays a visit to Roza-e-Rasool (SAW) in Madina pic.twitter.com/3Ps3WfeaNl— Umar Khattak عمر خټک (@iUmarKhattak) January 8, 2023
The visit, first by Gen Asim as the army chief, comes at a crucial juncture when Pakistan is facing yet another balance of payments crisis. The country’s foreign reserves have come down to $5.8 billion, barely enough to cover one month of import bill.
With the IMF programme hanging in the balance, Pakistan is hoping to secure another financial assistance package from Saudi Arabia and the UAE to avoid a default.