Saudi envoy praises India for continuing dialogue with Pakistan

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New Delhi, Feb.19 (ANI): Saudi Arabia's envoy to India has praised New Delhi for taking the initiative to talk to Pakistan, saying peace between the two countries is important for peace in South West Asia.

Talking exclusively to ANI, Ambassador Faisal Hassan Trad said:"We praise the Indian Government for the decision to continue dialogue. I think it is a very important step."

"We will continue to do whatever is in our position to see that relations between these two important countries -- India and Pakistan -- remains peaceful, because peace between these two countries means peace in South West Asia," he added.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will hold talks on February 25 in New Delhi.

India proposed the resumption of talks earlier this month after a hiatus of over 14 months.

The composite dialogue process was suspended after the July 7, 2008 suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul and the terror strike on Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Saudi Arabia holds a lot of influence with the Pakistani leadership and is believed to have played a major behind the scenes role in facilitating the return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan after an exile of almost ten years.

In the aftermath of the conference on Afghanistan in London, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had asked Saudi Arabia to play a role in the reintegration of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

India is seeking Riyadh's cooperation in combatting cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. It will also be counting on Riyadh for securing its assets in Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia could also play an instrumental role in Afghanistan after the US exits.

The Indian Prime Minister will be visiting Riyadh and these issues are likely to figure in the discussions with the Saudi leadership.

Ambassador Trad told ANI that all issues concerning the security of the two countries and the region will be on the table when the Indian Prime Minister visits Riyadh later this month.

When asked whether Saudi Arabia would persuade Pakistan-based terrorists to stop terrorist activities in India, the envoy said: Saudi supports all peace initiatives, but will not talk to terrorist organizations."

Trad further said:"Saudi Arabia cannot be expected to talk to any terrorist organization, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan. We are willing to support all peaceful solutions and peaceful negotiations, either in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The Indian Prime Minister is visiting Riyadh at a crucial time and the two countries are expected to sign major agreements on security cooperation extradition during the visit. By Naveen apoor (ANI)

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