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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia Take Steps To Improve Strained Ties

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have signed agreements to improve ties after months of strained relations over the disputed region of Kashmir.

The two traditional allies took the steps on May 8 as part of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's two-day trip to Saudi Arabia.

The agreements addressed the treatment of criminals, joint efforts to combat drug trafficking, and infrastructure and other projects. The two countries also agreed to establish a higher coordination council.

Relations soured after Islamabad sought Saudi Arabia's support over alleged human rights violations by India in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Saudi Arabia has been careful not to upset India, a key business partner and importer of Saudi oil.

Saudi Arabia then pushed Khan's government to repay a $3 billion loan and a $3.2 billion oil credit facility granted in late 2018, prompting Pakistan to turn to China for financial assistance.

Prior to Khan's arrival, Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Saudi Arabia and spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss ways to enhance cooperation, Pakistan's military said in a statement.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP