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Pak, Saudi bat for solution to Kashmir, other issues

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Islamabad/Jeddah, April 8: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have underlined the importance of dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi to resolve their “outstanding issues”, especially the Kashmir issue.
This was stated in a joint statement which was issued a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi de-facto ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman held an official meeting on April 7 at Al-Safa Palace in Mecca.
Their discussions centred on fortifying the fraternal relations between the two brotherly nations and exploring avenues for enhanced collaboration across various sectors, according to the joint statement.
They also discussed regional issues, including Kashmir, which was mentioned in the statement.
“The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to ensure peace and stability in the region,” it read.
New Delhi’s long-held position has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and there is no question of any mediation or intervention by any third party.
The ties between the two countries nosedived after India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the State into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.
India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy. India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country.
India has said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
The joint statement also said that emphasis was placed on the Gulf Kingdom’s supportive role in Pakistan’s economy and the mutual desire to strengthen trade and investment ties.
“Both parties affirmed their commitment to expediting the first wave of investment package worth $ 5 billion which was discussed previously,” it read. (PTI)

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