Saudi Crown Prince discusses Gaza war, India ties in meeting with Pakistan PM

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

During their meeting in the holy city of Mecca, the two leaders discussed various issues, including the war in Gaza.

MBS and Sharif “urged for international efforts to halt Israeli military operations in Gaza, mitigate humanitarian impact and underscored the imperative for the international community to pressure Israel to cease hostilities, adhere to international law, and facilitate unhindered humanitarian aid access to Gaza,” SPA reported.

“They discussed the need for advancing the peace process in accordance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly as well as the Arab Peace Initiative aimed at finding a just and comprehensive solution, for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” it said.

Both sides also underscored the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to address lingering disputes, particularly emphasizing the Jammu and Kashmir conflict, according to SPA.

The disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed in full, though ruled in part by both India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947, with the neighbors having fought two of their three wars over it.

India has longstanding friendly relations with Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, which have strengthened under Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is widely expected to win a third term in office in elections starting April 19.

The two leaders also discussed expediting a planned $5 billion investment package, which cash-strapped Pakistan desperately needs to shore up its current account deficit and signal to the International Monetary Fund that it can continue to meet requirements for foreign financing that has been a key demand in previous bailout packages.

This was Sharif’s first overseas visit since assuming power after elections in February.

Sharif extended an invitation for MBS to visit Islamabad at the earliest convenience, which was accepted by the Crown Prince, according to SPA.

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