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Imran dispels rumours of differences with Saudi Arabia

Filed on August 19, 2020 | Last updated on August 19, 2020 at 03.44 pm
Pakistan-Saudi ties, No differences
Prime Minister Imran Khan

Islamabad's relations with Riyadh are very good, says PM

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has played down "differences" with longtime ally Saudi Arabia after his army chief visited Riyadh in a bid to ease a row over policy towards Kashmir.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had no differences, Prime Minister Khan said in a late Tuesday interview, backing away from criticism by his foreign minister this month who suggested Saudi Arabia was "indifferent" on Kashmir.

"The rumours that our relations with Saudi Arabia have soured are totally false," the prime minister said in the interview with the Dunya News television channel.

"Our relations are very good. We are constantly in touch."

Pakistan's army chief travelled to Saudi Arabia on Monday for a one-day visit that was "primarily military-affairs oriented", the army said.

But top military and government officials said the visit was aimed at calming the simmering standoff that could badly hurt Pakistan's foreign reserves.

Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan a $3 billion loan and $3.2 billion oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis in late 2018.

Pakistan had to pay back $1 billion early, military and finance ministry officials have told Reuters.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has held low-level meetings on Kashmir. "On the Kashmir issue, there is a view that OIC should have stepped forward," Prime Minister Khan said.

"Saudi has its own foreign policy. We shouldn't think that because we want something Saudi will do just that," he added. 

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