No Riyadh-type funds for Pakistan: Bahrain

* Foreign minister says more than 450 business organisations in Bahrain are willing to make investment in development sector of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Bahrain said that no assurance has been given to Pakistan for provision of any development fund on the pattern of Saudi Arabia.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and Transport Minister Kamal Ahmad said at a press conference on Thursday that their country was not going to extend any financial assistance to Pakistan under the ‘Friends of Pakistan’.
However, they said that more than 450 business institutions in Bahrain were all set to make investment in the development of Pakistan. 
“We know Pakistan wants close and balanced ties with every country in the region. We recognise this right of Pakistan,” they said in a statement.
They went on to say that all, including GCC countries, wanted a political solution to the Syria issue. However, they made it clear that they had not come here to seek Pakistan’s help with reference to Syria. 
“We have discussed all regional issues, including problem of Syria, with the Pakistani leadership. We have held talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sartaj Aziz on all important matters too. We want political solution to the issue of Syria under the Geneva pact.”
They observed that Pakistan was an important country of Muslim Ummah, adding that no change had come in Pakistan’s foreign policy.
“We will stand by Saudi Arabia, like the GCC countries, if it faces any threat. Saudi Arabia has decided that the Muslim Brotherhood organisation be declared a terrorist outfit due to its internal situation and threats received from the Muslim Brotherhood. We term this decision correct.”
About Iran, they said that they wanted good friendly relations with Iran. “Iran is our neighbouring country. Iran is an important country. We have reservations over interference from Iran in the Middle East, particularly in the affairs of Bahrain. Iran should avoid taking such steps, which can lead to create an atmosphere of mistrust in the region.” 
They said it was the first visit of the king of Bahrain to Pakistan, and added that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between the two countries for formation of a joint commission with regard to overseas Pakistanis. They said that several important MoUs had also been signed in the sectors of food security, air service, water and power, investment board and business forum. “We dub this visit productive and fruitful,” they said in the statement.
They held that the existing level of bilateral trade of $6 billion would be further expanded. “We have discussed political cooperation with Pakistan. Defence cooperation between Pakistan and Bahrain is historic, which is continuing for the past several decades. We cannot talk about defence and military cooperation. We have discussed at length the matters related to defence cooperation with Pakistani authorities and this cooperation will continue in the days to come.”
Meanwhile, a joint statement issued by Pakistan and Bahrain said that the two countries had agreed to further broaden and deepen their bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest, especially in economics, trade and investment.
The two countries agreed to further enhancing high-level political exchanges, cooperation in the fields of economics, trade and investment, defence and security and people-to-people linkages, read the statement, which was issued following the conclusion of the three-day visit of the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. 

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