Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has said that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region and resolve outstanding issues, especially those between Pakistan and India. “During the official talks, the crown prince praised openness and efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan for dialogue with India and the opening of the Kartarpur crossing point and the efforts exerted by both sides,” a joint statement issued by the Foreign Office on the conclusion of the two-day state visit by the crown prince stated. “He stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve outstanding issues,” it quoted the crown prince as having said.Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed on the importance of political settlement and promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan so that millions of Afghan refugees can return to their country and contribute to their development and lasting peace, the statement said. The Saudi side appreciated Pakistan’s generous hosting of millions of Afghan refugees and its other initiatives in the Afghan context, it added.Both the countries reiterated their commitment to continue combating extremism and terrorism and appreciated the achievements and sacrifices by the two sides in the war against terrorism. Applauding the martyrs of the anti-terror war, they called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to join all international efforts to combat global terrorism. They also underlined the need for avoiding politicization of UN listing regime, the joint statement read. 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, the joint statement read.The two countries called for promoting dialogue, respect and understanding among followers of different faiths to promote peace and interfaith harmony. They strongly condemned the atrocities and human rights violations committed against Muslims around the world. The Pakistani side appreciated Saudi Arabia’s positive role in resolving the issues facing the Islamic Ummah. The Saudi side lauded Pakistan’s important positions in the Islamic world and its efforts for regional peace and security.Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to promote bilateral trade, investment and contacts between the two peoples and businessmen, besides encouraging the private sector to take lead in building a strong economic partnership. They agreed to further strengthen measures to promote trade, participate in exhibitions and events, and welcome business meetings from both the countries. The Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which is now part of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, will facilitate bilateral trade in specific sectors and products, the statement said.The two sides reaffirmed the historical relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister praised the leadership of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the efforts of his government, specially its services to the millions of pilgrims who visit the Two Holy Mosques every year. He also lauded the crown prince for the development and investment files that would push the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a rapid progress and prosperity in view of its Vision 2030.The 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 Saudi side appreciated the initiatives taken by the government of Pakistan to facilitate the conduct of business in the country and facilitate foreign direct investment. The prime minister called on Saudi Arabia to be a partner in economic growth and development in Pakistan.The crown prince also praised the efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan to develop the economic and social structure in Pakistan and stressed the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will contribute to the development and prosperity of the region.Published in Daily Times, February 19th 2019.