Saudi Arabia denies threatening Pakistan over KL Summit

Denies Erdogan's claims, says they have brotherly relations

Saudi Arabia has denied threatening Pakistan not to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit.

In a statement issued by its embassy in Islamabad, Saudi Arabia has said relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Pakistan are superior to the language of threat.

"The brotherly relations between the countries are long-standing and strategic based on trust, understanding and mutual respect, and the two countries enjoy a consensus of views on most regional and international issues, especially the issues of the Islamic nation," it said, adding that Saudi Arabia has always stood with Pakistan during difficult times.

"We strive always to stand with Pakistan to be a successful and stable country," the embassy added.

The statement comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that Saudi Arabia pressured Pakistan into withdrawing from the four-day Kuala Lumpur Summit.

Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported that the president had said Saudi Arabia threatened Pakistan that the kingdom would recruit people from Bangladesh for jobs and four million Pakistanis would be sent back to their country. President Erdogan said due to its economic difficulties, Pakistan had to obey the threats.

He added that the kingdom has also threatened to withdraw money it had deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan.

The four-day Kuala Lumpur Summit is being organised by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Pakistan had initially confirmed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attendance but later said it would not attend. Its denial came days after PM Khan visited Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed on December 18 that Pakistan wasn’t attending the summit because Saudi Arabia and the UAE had “concerns” about the event. However, the Foreign Office of Pakistan said the country would continue to work for the unity and solidarity of the Muslim world.

“Pakistan did not participate in the KL Summit as time and efforts were needed to address the concerns of major Muslims countries regarding possible division in the Ummah,” it said in a statement.

The meeting in Kuala Lumpur was criticised by Saudi Arabia for allegedly undermining the larger OIC.

Saudi state news agency SPA reported that on a call with Mahathir, Saudi King Salman said that issues of the Muslim world should be discussed through the OIC.

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