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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Saudi counterpart discussed bilateral relations and the challenges of organising Hajj this year due to the pandemic.
This comes as Saudi Arabia announced that only citizens and residents of the Kingdom would be able to perform Hajj this year and has barred all foreign pilgrims for two second consecutive years.
Saudi Arabia has also decided to limit the Hajj pilgrimage this year to 60,000 and only for its citizens and resident It stressed that those were desiring to perform Hajj must be free of any chronic diseases, should be vaccinated and fall within the age limits from 18 to 65 years.
During the telephone call, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud apprised Qureshi about the challenges of organising Hajj in 2021 and the policy measures taken in the larger interest of public health.
Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed his understanding of the situation and expressed confidence in the decisions taken by the Saudi King.
READ MORE: Saudi Arabia bars foreign pilgrims from Hajj
The two foreign ministers reaffirmed long-standing and fraternal ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. On behalf of Pakistan’s leadership, Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed best wishes to Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In view of the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia, the foreign ministers reviewed the outcomes of the successful visit and agreed to work together towards early and effective implementation of decisions taken by the leadership of the two countries.
The two foreign ministers also discussed bilateral cooperation in various fields and multilateral organizations. They also exchanged views on global and regional issues of mutual interest. They agreed to hold frequent consultations on diverse issues to commensurate the close and cordial relations between the two countries.
The two foreign ministers met twice in May 2021, first during the visit of the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia, and then on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting on Palestine in New York.