No financial assistance sought from Saudi Arabia, UAE: Qureshi

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WASHINGTON: Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan had not demanded financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates rather Islamabad sought investment in different sectors.

Talking to reporters here on Sunday, the minister said that relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE had been cold as there had been no high-level contacts over the years. However, ties improved with both the brotherly countries after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit.

India had accepted Pakistani proposal for meeting in New York and the US also welcomed the move, but New Delhi ended the excitement by abruptly calling off the meeting. Qureshi arrived here in the city Saturday night for a day-long stay before departing for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session at its headquarters in New York.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the journalists that he had visited Afghanistan and held meaningful talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He said that he also held meetings on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with Afghan, Iran, Turkey and Japan’s officials. He said that he held talks with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and Saudi foreign minister during his visit to Saudi Arabia.

Qureshi said that issues with India are clear before the world and holding of talks is a positive course to solve all burning issues with New Delhi. He said that India was ready to hold talks and the meeting was fixed for September 27 but they abruptly called it off. He said that Pakistan did not use language against diplomatic norms on the cancellation of Pak-India FMs meeting but Islamabad expressed reaction by following diplomatic principles.

The foreign minister said that his visit to Saudi Arabia was a success. He said strategic relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had not been up to the mark due to several reasons including absence of foreign minister of Pakistan for last four and a half years. He said that there had been no high-level contact between Saudi Arabia and UAE which was a matter of concern for us and Pakistan succeeded in engaging both of them by removing misunderstandings between them because both of these countries always stood by Pakistan in hour of crises.

Qureshi said that it would be be a figment of imagination to think that India won’t mention terrorism during talk with Pakistan. He said all need peace and stability in the region. He said that on the one hand, millions of people are living a life under poverty line while on the other hand, India is talking about buying Rafale jets from France, is reluctant to effort for improving environment for the sake humanity. He said that calling off talks with Pakistan was the decision of India. Pakistan extended friendship to India in the interest of the country, he added.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan’s policy for the US is quite clear and mutual interest and respect should be kept supreme in relations with Washington. He said that Pakistan would do which was in its best interest and there was no need to come under any pressure in this regard.

The foreign minister will be heading for New York to attend the UN General Assembly’s 73rd session — which opens on September 18 — on Monday, where he would be heading the Pakistani delegation.

In addition to this, Qureshi is also expected to visit his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his official trip to the United States. He had flown out to the US on Friday, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, for a week-long visit to the UN headquarters.

Qureshi is slated to present Pakistan’s stance on various issues, including the Kashmir conflict, at the UNGA session. He would also meet his counterparts at the session and hold talks with the US administration. Earlier, it was reported that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan would not attend the UNGA session in order to focus his attention on the country’s economy and local problems.

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