ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Pakistan’s military president pledged to strengthen cooperation and stressed the need to fight terrorism, local media said Thursday.
Abdullah met with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf after arriving in the capital, Islamabad, on Wednesday, the first visit by a Saudi monarch in 30 years.
The two leaders discussed regional and international issues along with economic cooperation, state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported late Wednesday.
Abdullah, visiting for two days, received Pakistan’s highest award, Nishan-e-Pakistan, for his services to promote ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the Dawn newspaper reported Thursday.
In their discussions, Abdullah and Musharraf stressed the need to eradicate terrorism, local media said. “We reaffirm our common commitment to fight terrorism that poses a danger to all faiths and all societies,” Musharraf was quoted as saying by The News International, an English-language Daily.
The Pakistani leader added, “Nothing can justify disrupting of stability, progress and development in a society and killing of innocent people,” APP reported.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have fought homegrown Islamic militants in recent years.
In a banquet speech Wednesday, Abdullah said he hoped that the continuing peace process between Pakistan and India would be successful, The News reported.
“We appreciate your keenness for peace in our region and we in turn are keen about your region, that it does not become subject of destructive force,” The News quoted the king as saying.
On Thursday afternoon, Abdullah was to meet with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam.
Also Thursday, senior Pakistan and Saudi officials are expected to sign agreements on promoting political consultations and cooperation in technical education, Aslam said.
Abdullah is scheduled to return home later Thursday.
Abdullah has visited Pakistan before, including a tour in October 2003, when he was a crown prince, but the last visit by a Saudi king was in 1976.
Saudi Arabia is Pakistan’s largest oil supplier and trade between the two countries in 2004-2005 was worth US$2.8 billion, the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Saudi Arabia has pledged US$573 million in assistance for Pakistan to rebuild areas that were hit by an Oct. 8 earthquake in which about 87,000 people died and thousands were injured. The quake left more than 3 million people homeless in Pakistan’s northwest and its portion of Kashmir.