ISLAMABAD: Close allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have opposed the "politicisation" of the UN listing regime at a time when India has been stepping up its efforts to brand the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist - a move that may not go well in New Delhi. Ahead of his visit to India amidst fresh Indo-Pakistan tensions over Pulwama attack on the CRPF convoy, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve "outstanding issues" between India and Pakistan, according to a joint statement issued at the end his visit.
A joint statement issued by the two countries said that ''The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 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. They also underlined the need for avoiding politicisation of UN listing regime,''.
The joint statement made an apparent reference to India's bid to list JeM's Pakistan-based chief Azhar as a global terrorist. China, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council and a close ally of Pakistan, has consistently blocked moves first by India and later by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the 1267 Committee by putting technical holds.
Crown Prince Salman, who is set to visit India on February 19-20, held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the issue of terrorism. The Saudi Crown Prince "praised openness and efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan for dialogue with India and the opening of the Kartarpur crossing point for Sikh pilgrims, the joint statement said.
It also pointed out to the "efforts exerted by both sides, stressing that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve outstanding issues".
The Joint statement said ''During the official talks in Islamabad, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence 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, stressing that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve outstanding issues,''.
The two countries 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, the joint statement said.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding. The Crown Prince stressed the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will contribute to the development and prosperity of the region. The two countries called to promote dialogue, respect and understanding among followers of different faiths to promote peace and interfaith harmony.