Islamabad: Pakistan’s defence minister has said Islamabad attaches great importance to its historical relations with Saudi Arabia.

Addressing a seminar in Islamabad on Thursday, Khurram Dastgir said Pakistan’s defence and economic ties with Saudi Arabia have deepened while the country was “cooperating in antiterrorism efforts” with Iran.

He also maintained that Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran are of different nature and that “Pakistan is desirous of good relations with its neighbours.”

Dastgir also added that the Gwadar and Chabahar port of Iran could play an important role in regional development.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s military spokesman hailed the essential role played by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in fighting terrorism in the region.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, director-general of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), was quoted as saying that Pakistan’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and the UAE are “extremely important” for the region.

The military spokesman said that Pakistan has a history of “wonderful relationships” with the two Gulf States.

“This cooperation is increasing with every passing day, and we believe this cooperation is in the interest of not only Pakistan, but also the region” he added.

Maj. Gen. Ghafoor was also quoted as saying that “In conflict areas where Pakistani forces had cleared out terrorists, development work had been “assisted phenomenally” by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, specifically in the field of social welfare, including hospitals and water supply schemes.

Earlier a Pakistani Senator, Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayyum had also lauded the country’s long-standing close ties with Riyadh and cautioned that “Pakistan is worried about the tension in Middle East and we want to play a role in bridging gaps between Saudi Arabia and Iran.”

Pakistan-Saudi Arabia defence relations has been further enhanced with recent announcement that additional Pakistani troops would be training of military and security officials in Saudi Arabia.