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Monday 17 August 2020

Pakistani Army Chief in Saudi Arabia to Rekindle Relations

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RIYADH (Reuters) – Pakistan’s army chief arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, the embassy in Riyadh said, amid a diplomatic clash that threatened Riyadh’s financial lifeline for the cash-strapped Muslim country.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Riyadh at 10 AM (7:00 GMT), the embassy said. A military source said General Faiz Hameed, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), accompanied Bajwa.

Pakistan has long pressed the Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting to highlight alleged Indian violations in the part it controls. But the OIC has only held low-level meetings so far. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s remarks against the OIC for its inaction on the Kashmir issue has strained the relations between the two countries.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are traditionally close. Saudi Arabia in 2018 granted Pakistan a $3 bln loan and $3.2 bln oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis. However, Riyadh is irked by criticism from Pakistan that Saudi Arabia has been lukewarm on the Kashmir territorial dispute.

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