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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia set to rewrite defence cooperation deal

Written by: Staff

Islamabad, Apr 15 (UNI) Pakistan is all set to sign a new defence deal with Saudi Arabia and has also agreed to transfer war technology and hold joint war exercises with Riyadh, a media report said today.

''The new military deal is being signed on the request of Saudi Arabia,'' the Daily Times reported, ahead of the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud beginning today.

The Pakistan Army has been sending its armed personnel on deputation on the request of Saudi Arabia since 1982, now Saudi Arabia wants a new defence treaty to get maximum benefits from the Pakistan Army.

The draft agreement has been submitted to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for final approval.

The federal cabinet meeting Wednesday with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in the chair gave the go-ahead to the Ministry of Defence to revise the old military cooperation pact signed in 1982 when General Ziaul Haq was ruling Pakistan and Shah Khalid was the monarch of Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, the Defence Ministry sent a draft agreement to Saudi Arabia for approval, to which the latter raised some objections.

After developing consensus on the agreement, the Ministry got it approved from the cabinet.

According to the Defence Ministry, in terms of the rules of business of 1973, the Prime Minister had to approve the signing of the military cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

The agreement is meant to strengthen existing bilateral relations and enhance military and defence cooperation in various fields between the armed forces of both countries, the newspaper said.

A Defence Ministry summary said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence Production and Joint Staff Headquarters had also cleared and supported the agreement. The Ministry of Law and Justice had also vetted the agreement.

The earlier agreement on the deputation of Pakistan's armed forces and personnel and military training was signed between Islamabad and Riyadh on December 14, 1982.

The new agreement will cover areas related to cooperation in the field of training, deputation, transfer of technology, exchange of experience, purchase of weapons systems, equipment, spare parts and military medical services UNI XC SC RN1753

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