FORGING CLOSER TIES WITH SAUDI ARABIA


Hishammuddin and Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a series of constructive and fruitful discussions during which both leaders reviewed regional and international issues of common interests.

To intensify cooperation in trade, economic, investment, military and security areas

WITHIN the framework of the brotherly relations and close historical ties between the governments and peoples of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, and upon the kind invitation from my counterpart His Royal Highness Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, I have undertaken an official visit to Saudi Arabia.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who is Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia – and I held a series of constructive and fruitful discussions in a warm and friendly atmosphere during which we reviewed regional and international issues of common interests.

We both exchanged views on the prospects and ways to further develop existing bilateral defence relations, and to intensify cooperation in trade, economic, investment, military and security areas.

We agreed to elevate our defence ties to greater heights through:

> The formalisation of a high-level committee under three key pillars – military-to-military cooperation, defence industry collaboration, and military veterans welfare cooperation.

> Increasing military-to-military cooperation, whereby the three key focus areas are on military expertise, military medicine, and military intelligence.

Both Prince Mohammed bin Salman and I also discussed developing the defence industries of Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

As a result, a working group will be established between the Saudi Arabia General Authorities of Military Industries, the Defence Industry Division of the Ministry of Defence Malaysia (Mindef), and the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) on knowledge sharing and potential defence industry partnerships.

Furthermore, the Saudi Arabian Military Industries will concretise cooperation with LTAT to explore potential collaboration between the two parties.

On counter-terrorism, Prince Mohammed bin Salman and I agreed to upgrade our cooperation in combating and curbing terror threats and extremism.

During the visit, I also had a meeting with Saudi Arabia vice minister of defence His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman on our strategic relations, in addition to reviewing the Malaysia-Saudi partnership and aspects of cooperation in the defence and military fields.

Apart from matters related to defence bilateral ties, I also took the opportunity to discuss with Prince Mohammed bin Salman on other matters relating to our bilateral relations which covers:

> Oil and gas – specifically on cooperation between Saudi Aramco and Petronas, and other related bodies.

> Food security – which covers cooperation on halal industries, and Malaysian palm oil exports to Saudi Arabia.

> Economic and financial cooperation through opportunities with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund, and the Saudi Stock Exchange.

In my meeting with the minister of the state and member of the Cabinet for Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, we emphasised our strong bilateral relations and aspects of cooperation in various fields.

I will be reporting to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and related members of the Cabinet at the soonest in order to prepare for an upcoming visit by our prime minister to Saudi Arabia.

All outcomes on matters that require inter-ministerial and/or inter-agency cooperation will be conveyed in the next Cabinet meeting.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is Senior Minister of Defence, Malaysia

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