Ghani, Saudi king agree on enhanced economic links
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held wide-ranging talks on a variety of subjects of bilateral importance, including enhanced economic cooperation.
Relations between the two brotherly Muslim countries and latest developments of mutual interest in world figured at the meeting, the two sides said after the meeting.
A statement from the Presidential Palace in Kabul said Ghani and his team were given a red-carpet welcome by the Saudi leaders, including the custodian of the holy mosques, at the Khalid bin Abdul Aziz Airport.
Long-term cooperation in economic, security and cultural spheres came up for discussion, with both sides pledging to boost their relations. They hoped enhanced Afghan-Saudi ties would guarantee peace in the region.
The king assured his guest of continued economic assistance to Afghanistan, as the two leaders decided to form a joint team to evolve a framework of cooperation.
Ghani praised the oil-rich kingdom’s generous assistance to the Afghans during the jihad era and over the last decade. He was optimistic of continued help from Riyadh.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer Eng. Mohammed Khan, National Security Affairs Hanif Atmar, Minister of Hajj and Endowments Fida Mohammad Osmani and senior officials assisted Ghani at the talks.
Governor of Riyadh Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Minister of National Guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif were also present, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi deputy minister of foreign affairs, minister of defence, Royal Court head, minister of finance, Ambassador to Afghanistan Misfer bin Abdul Rahman Al Ghaseb were in attendance.
Earlier in the day, King Salman hosted a luncheon for Ghani. The banquet was attended by princes, ministers, senior officials and members of the delegation accompanying the president.
After arriving in Saudi Arabia, Ghani and his entourage performed Umrah in the holy land. The president and his delegation prayed for durable peace, prosperity, development and stability in the world, specifically Afghanistan.
On arrival, they were accorded a warm welcome by Malik Bin Abdul Aziz, the Amir of Makkah. Ghani was to meet the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Ghani visit to Saudi Arabia comes at a time when peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban are a subject of discussion in media.
Hassan Haqyar, political analyst, viewed Ghani's visit as immensely important, saying the Arabs could play a key role in Afghan peace efforts. Saudi efforts could yield positive result, given its good relations with Pakistan and influence with the Taliban.
During his trip, the analyst believed, the president would stress the need for greater support from Saudi Arabia for establishing peace in the county.
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