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Crown Prince’s visit: Pak-Saudi Joint Statement

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office had issued a joint Pak-Saudi statement following the termination of Saudi Crown Prince’s two-day visit. 

According to that, investment and trade relations have been given high priority during the visit as Saudi Crown Prince announced 20 billion dollars investment and signed agreements and MoUs in several sectors in Pakistan. “The visit laid the foundation for a new chapter in Pakistan-Saudi political, diplomatic, and economic, investment, and trade, people-to-people, defense, and security relationship”.  The statement said the establishment of the Supreme Coordination Council, its subsidiary mechanism is one of the key steps in shaping the new trajectory in the bilateral relations. The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the Crown Prince for his immediate consent to release 2107 prisoners from Saudi jails.

He briefed the Crown Prince on the grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the need for resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Saudi side praised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s dialogue offer to India including the initiative on the opening of Kartarpur corridor. The Saudi side lauded Pakistan’s important positions in the Islamic world and its efforts for regional peace and security. Both sides also reiterated their commitment to continue combating extremism and terrorism and expressed their deep appreciation for the achievements and sacrifices made by the two sides in the war against terrorism. They also applauded the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in order to confront this serious scourge and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to join all international efforts to combat global terrorism. 

Both brotherly countries applaud the growing momentum in bilateral ties in all areas. They stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region and to resolve the outstanding issues. Both sides also strongly condemned the atrocities and human rights violations committed against Muslims around the world. Both sides noted with satisfaction their strong defense and security ties and agreed to further enhance cooperation in this field to advance shared objectives. Crown Prince praised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s agenda of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state, based on Islamic socio-economic principles and assured him of the Kingdom’s continued support.

The joint statement said that the two sides expressed their hope for achieving a fair, comprehensive and long-lasting peace in the Middle East in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of international legitimacy guaranteeing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state based on internationally agreed standards 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital. It said that the two sides agreed on the importance of political settlement and promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan so that millions of Afghan refugees in neighboring countries can return to their country and contribute to their development and lasting peace. It said that the Saudi side appreciated Pakistan’s generous hosting of millions of Afghan refugees and other initiatives by Pakistan in the Afghan context.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen measures to promote trade, participate in exhibitions and events, welcome business meetings from both countries, and encourage the private sector to take the lead in building a strong economic partnership between the two brotherly countries. The Crown Prince stressed the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which will contribute to the development and prosperity of the region. Both countries called to promote dialogue, respect, and understanding among followers of different faiths to promote peace and interfaith harmony. Foreign Office Spokesperson in a press release issued today said investment and trade relations have been given high priority during the visit as Saudi Crown Prince announced 20 billion dollars investment and signed agreements and MoUs in several sectors in Pakistan. The joint statement said the visit laid the foundation for a new chapter in Pakistan-Saudi political, diplomatic, and economic, investment, and trade, people-to-people, defense, and security relationship.

The statement said the establishment of the Supreme Coordination Council, its subsidiary mechanism is one of the key steps in shaping the new trajectory in the bilateral relations. The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the Crown Prince for his immediate consent to release 2107 prisoners from Saudi jails. He briefed the Crown Prince on the grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the need for resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Saudi side praised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s dialogue offer to India including the initiative on the opening of Kartarpur corridor. The Saudi side lauded Pakistan’s important positions in the Islamic world and its efforts for regional peace and security. Both sides also reiterated their commitment to continue combating extremism and terrorism and expressed their deep appreciation for the achievements and sacrifices made by the two sides in the war against terrorism.

They also applauded the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in order to confront this serious scourge and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to join all international efforts to combat global terrorism. Both brotherly countries applaud the growing momentum in bilateral ties in all areas. They stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region and to resolve the outstanding issues. Both sides also strongly condemned the atrocities and human rights violations committed against Muslims around the world.  Both sides noted with satisfaction their strong defense and security ties and agreed to further enhance cooperation in this field to advance shared objectives. Crown Prince praised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s agenda of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state, based on Islamic socio-economic principles and assured him of the Kingdom’s continued support. The joint statement said that the two sides expressed their hope for achieving a fair, comprehensive and long-lasting peace in the Middle East in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of international legitimacy guaranteeing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state based on internationally agreed standards 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital.

It said that the two sides agreed on the importance of political settlement and promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan so that millions of Afghan refugees in neighboring countries can return to their country and contribute to their development and lasting peace.  It said that the Saudi side appreciated Pakistan’s generous hosting of millions of Afghan refugees and other initiatives by Pakistan in the Afghan context. The two sides agreed to further strengthen measures to promote trade, participate in exhibitions and events, welcome business meetings from both countries, and encourage the private sector to take the lead in building a strong economic partnership between the two brotherly countries. The Crown Prince stressed the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which will contribute to the development and prosperity of the region.

Both countries called to promote dialogue, respect, and understanding among followers of different faiths to promote peace and interfaith harmony. Earlier, in a separate brief statement, Foreign Office said the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has laid the foundation for a new chapter in Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship. The statement said the visit is marked by initiatives of a high-level institutional framework to guide the future direction of political, diplomatic, economic, security and cultural aspects. The establishment of the Supreme Coordination Council and its inaugural session in Islamabad were key steps in shaping a new trajectory n bilateral relationship. The statement also articulates the common position of two countries on a range of regional peace and security matters and international challenges faced by Islamic Ummah.

Relevant pieces publised earlier: 

Saudi Crown Prince orders release of over 2K Pak prisoners!

$20bn Saudi investment in Pakistan

Saudi Crown Prince arrives on historic visit to the region! (TEXT AND VIDEO)

 

 

 

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Rights advocates slam US move to bar entry to Int’l Criminal Court investigators

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UNITED NATIONS: Human rights defenders expressed outrage on Friday after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the Trump administration was revoking or denying visas for any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who try to investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or key allies for potential war crimes.

The move, Pompeo confirmed to reporters was a direct response to ongoing efforts by the Hague-based ICC to probe allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity tied to the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Programme, was among those who spoke out against the decision

The ACLU currently represents Khaled El Masri, Suleiman Salim, and Mohamed Ben Soud, who were all detained and tortured in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008.

“This is an unprecedented attempt to skirt international accountability for well-documented war crimes that haunt our clients to this day,” Dakwar said.

“It reeks of the very totalitarian practices that are characteristic of the worst human rights abusers, and is a blatant effort to intimidate and retaliate against judges, prosecutors, and advocates seeking justice for victims of serious human rights abuses.”

Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, called it “an outrageous effort to bully the court and deter scrutiny of U.S. conduct.” He encouraged ICC member countries to “publicly make clear that they will remain undaunted in their support for the ICC and will not tolerate U.S. obstruction.”

Daniel Balson, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, noted that this is just “the latest attack on international justice and international institutions by an administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections.”

Visa bans, as Balson pointed out, are “powerful tools typically reserved for the most serious of human rights abusers.”

But rather than targeting global criminals, the Trump administration has set its sights on the ICC—an impartial judicial body that aims to promote accountability under international law by probing and prosecuting crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

Pompeo’s announcement came after John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser and a longtime critic of the ICC, threatened to impose sanctions on court officials in September if they continued to pursue an investigation of potential crimes by U.S. civilians or military personnel in Afghanistan.

The move “is highly indicative of [the administration’s] culture of disregard for rights abuses,” Balson said.

“Throwing roadblocks in front of the ICC’s investigation undermines justice not only for abuses committed in Afghanistan, but also for the millions of victims and survivors throughout the world who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law.”

Echoing Bolton’s broader denunciations of the ICC last year, Pompeo on Friday highlighted that the United States—under both Democratic and Republican presidents—has refused to join the court for more than two decades “because of its broad, unaccountable prosecutorial powers and the threat it poses to American national sovereignty.”

Warning that “the court could eventually pursue politically motivated prosecutions of Americans,” the secretary of state told reporters that the Trump administration is “determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation.”

“These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent,” Pompeo added. “Implementation of this policy has already begun.”

 

 

 

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Middle East

117 children die in northeastern Syria camp

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DAMASCUS: As many as 117 children died in a battered camp in northeastern Syria over the past few months, a war monitor reported Friday.

The dead children were mostly under 12 years old and 60 percent of them died as a result of the tough humanitarian situation in the camp over the past 19 days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The United Nations has made several statements about the tough humanitarian situation in al-Hol camp. Its latest statement on Thursday said there has been an unfolding humanitarian crisis in the camp since December 2018.

About 67,000 people are in al-Hol camp, 90 percent of whom are women and children fleeing hostilities from the town of Baghouz, the last IS-held area in eastern Syria.

The United Nations said the camp was over-crowded and uninhabitable and threatened human dignity and life where people were forced to sleep on the ground during harsh weather conditions.

People are leaving Baghouz on a daily basis and the Observatory said the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has postponed its last push against the IS in the town as the terror group is holding prisoners from the SDF.

The SDF, backed by the US-led coalition, has been carrying out a crushing offensive against the IS in eastern Syria since last September.

In recent reports, the Observatory said the IS militants were in their last days in eastern Syria amid the progress of the SDF.

 

 

 

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Saudi Arabia, Jordan join hands to train Saudis in Jordan in uranium mining

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Saudi Arabia, Jordan join hands to train Saudis in Jordan in uranium mining

AMMAN: The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission said on Monday that Saudi Arabia has started a programme to train its staff and cadres in Jordan in uranium mining.

Under the one-year programme, which is conducted in cooperation with the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission and Jordanian Uranium Mining Company, Saudis will be trained in exploring uranium ore, developing uranium oxide and feasibility study.

The first batch of Saudi trainees includes 13 specialists, the commission said in a statement.

In 2017, Jordan and Saudi Arabia signed agreements on cooperation in uranium exploration and a joint feasibility study into the construction of two small modular reactors (SMRs) in Jordan.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in January 2014. Jordan is working on a national program to create nuclear reactors for power generation and has launched a major nuclear research reactor that benefits the Middle East.

 

 

 

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