Saudi Arabia a factor of stability in region: Krishna

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Saudi Arabia as ‘highly successful’, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Thursday said the Islamic kingdom was ‘a factor of stability in the region’.

‘The two leaders renewed their condemnation of the phenomena of terrorism, extremism and violence, affirming that it is global and threatens all societies and is not linked to any race, colour or belief,’ Krishna said, referring to Manmohan Singh’s meeting with Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz.

The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in exchange of information relating to terrorist activities, money laundering, narcotics, arms and human trafficking, and develop joint strategies to combat these threats, he said.

Manmohan Singh asked the Saudi monarch to use his good offices to persuade Pakistan to stop abetting terrorism against India.

During the visit – the first visit by an Indian prime minister in 28 years – the two sides signed several pacts, including an extradition treaty and one to enable the two sides to expand their counter-terror cooperation.

They also signed an MoU for cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

The most important outcome of the visit, said Krishna, was the signing of the historic Riyadh Declaration in which India and Saudi Arabia decided to raise their cooperation to ‘a strategic partnership covering security, economic, defence and political areas’.

‘In particular, both leaders emphasised the importance of strengthening the strategic energy partnership,’ Krishna said.

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