Wednesday April 17, 2024

MBS phones Imran: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to expand ties

By Mumtaz Alvi
March 30, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday received a phone call from the Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and discussed the bilateral ties. The Crown Prince inquired after the prime minister and wished him speedy recovery. The prime minister also inquired after the crown prince since he had recently undergone a surgical procedure.

The prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to further strengthen amiable and fraternal ties with Saudi Arabia and also reiterated Pakistan’s support for the Kingdom’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The prime minister and the crown prince agreed to work together to further augment bilateral ties in all spheres. The crown prince invited the prime minister to undertake a visit to Saudi Arabia in the near future.

The prime minister graciously accepted the invitation. Both the leaders reaffirmed the resolve to further strengthening the strong, longstanding fraternal ties.

The prime minister praised the reforestation and environmental initiatives recently announced by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and said his vision was closely aligned with that of Pakistan’s government.

“I’m delighted to learn of ‘Green Saudi Arabia’ & ‘Green Middle East’ initiatives by my brother, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman! Have offered our support on these, as there are many complementarities with our ‘Clean & Green Pakistan & 10 Billion-Tree Tsunami,” he wrote in a letter to MBS and shared on the Twitter.

Imran expressed his delight over the initiatives "aimed at protecting the nature and the planet" and offered Pakistan's help in this regard. The two initiatives, including the plantation of 10 billion trees in Saudi Arabia and 50 billion in the Green Middle East, the expansion of protected areas to more than 30 percent, the protection of marine and coastal environments and the generation of 50pc of Saudi Arabia's energy from renewable sources, were hailed as ‘highly commendable’ by the prime minister.

He said Pakistan was also looking to invest in nature-based solutions to address the impact of climate change in the country. “After successfully planting one billion trees from 2014-2018, our TBTT initiative is well underway across the whole country. We are also expanding our protected areas — over 15pc land and 10pc marine area — by 2023.”

He said the initiatives had demonstrated that tree planting not only protected nature and restored ecosystems to fight climate change, but also expanded eco-tourism and created thousands of green jobs for the youth and local communities.

Pakistan is also committed to ‘shifting our energy mix towards a clean and low carbon trajectory, said the letter. “We are targeting 60pc of our energy to be clean energy by 2030, which will require a major expansion of solar, wind and hydro power generation capacity in the country. Pakistan cherishes its cordial and brotherly relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we would like to extend our support for your royal highness's excellent 'green' initiatives. While our two countries maintain close cooperation on climate change issues at all multilateral forums, a meaningful and structured bilateral engagement can help advance our shared vision and create mutually beneficial opportunities for partnership”.

He said Pakistan would be happy to lend and share its support in the form of its experience, knowledge and lessons from its environment and nature programmes. “The challenge of climate change is one that calls for greater international collaboration and a shared aspiration for sustainable development.”

He said the world had no choice but to ‘tread this green pathway and define a new development paradigm for the 21st century’. “Your Royal Highness, it gives me immense pleasure to extend my best greetings and hope that Your Royal Highness is in good health and safe from the pandemic. I would like to convey deep respects and warm wishes for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz,” PM Imran Khan wrote.