Pakistan army chief’s ‘quiet’ visit to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday Oct 17 and discussed bilateral issues, with special emphasis on military-to-military relations, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

According to Arab News, Crown Prince Salman received Gen Bajwa in capital Riyadh on Monday.

Attendees at the meeting on Tuesday included senior Saudi officials.

The unannounced visit to the Kingdom was preceded by the Army Chief’s visit to Dubai on October 14, where he met Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum at the Zabeel Palace, WAM reported.

Gen Qamar and Sheikh Mohammed discussed recent regional developments. The Dubai ruler praised the Pakistani community for their constructive role in the development of the state.

Among the attendees were senior military officials, including the chief of armed forces of Dubai.

In Saudi Arabia, Gen Bajwa also attended the inaugural session of the second International Conference on C4I Solutions at the King Saud University, Riyadh. Organized by the Saudi defense ministry, the theme of this year’s conference was “Alliance Against Terrorism: Strategies and Capabilities”.

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The army chief returned from his three-day visit to the Middle East on Tuesday, military sources told Dawn.

The army chief’s ‘quiet’ visit to UAE and KSA coincided with a meeting of representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US in Omani capital Muscat to revive the stalled Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) whose last meeting was held in Tajikistan in August.

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The general visited Russia earlier this month followed by his meeting with Afghanistan President Ghani last week. In August the army chief visited Tajikistan to thank President Emomali Rahmon for hosting the Quadrilateral Counter Terrorism Coordination Mechanism (QCCM).

According to reports, Pakistan has conducted military exercises with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey–all within one month with focus on counter-terrorism.

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