Islamabad: Saudi Arabia has asked the
Pakistan government to reconsider its decision to pursue energy cooperation with Iran, including a multi-billion dollar
gas pipeline project, according to a media report Wednesday.
The Saudi King`s position was conveyed to Pakistan`s top
leadership by visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul
Aziz bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz during meetings yesterday,
Arab diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by the Dawn
Saudi Arabia reportedly offered an "alternative
package" to meet Pakistan`s growing energy needs in an effort
to persuade it to abandon the gas pipeline and electricity and
oil import deals with Iran, the report said.
The visiting minister reportedly offered a loan and oil
facility to bail Pakistan out of its financial and energy
An unnamed Pakistani official told the daily the offer
would be discussed at the Pakistan-Saudi joint ministerial
meeting, currently being planned.
Prince Abdul Aziz`s visit to Islamabad came close on the
heels of a trip by Saudi Information Minister Abdul Aziz bin
Mohiuddin Al-Khoja last week, which coincided with Pakistan
Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani`s visit to Saudi Arabia.
The exchanges took place against the backdrop of an
intensifying cold war between Tehran and Riyadh over Syria,
with "smaller versions of the proxy being played out in
Bahrain, Yemen and other parts of the region", the report
The visits took place at a time when diplomatic efforts
for dealing with the Syrian crisis have picked momentum.
Saudi Arabia sees the situation in Syria as key to the
future of the Middle East and has been spearheading efforts to
isolate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the report said.
Statements issued by the presidency, Prime Minister`s
House and Foreign Office yesterday referred to the cordial
ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and noted that
discussions were held on "regional and international
Prince Abdul Aziz had a one-to-one interaction with
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and a delegation-level
meeting, during which a "special message" from the Saudi King
was delivered, a prime ministerial aide told the daily.