| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Malaysian Foreign Minister: We Want to Take Part in Saudi Initiatives

Saudi Arabia is an important ally for the country, and Malaysia looks forward to cooperating closely with the Kingdom in a number of areas, according to Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Zambry Abd Kadir.

Kadir’s remark was made at a time when Kuala Lumpur is attempting to increase defense, industrial, and technology collaboration with Riyadh.

“Our economic and trade relations grew by 159% during 2022, so I think in the coming years, we will have more trade relationships between the two countries as well as concerning the economic zone,” the minister told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“I discussed with my counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, ways to advance the work of Malaysian-Saudi coordination councils to achieve the greatest benefit for both countries,” said Kadir. He added that these councils could be used as a platform for more cooperation and exploring new partnerships in vital fields such as security, defense, economy, trade, and education.

“Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have a long-term security and defense strategy. A proposal for an MoU on cooperation in science, technology, and industry for national defense was put forward in 2021, so we are firm in terms of our coordination with the Kingdom in combating any possible strike,” affirmed Kadir.

When asked about the objectives behind his visit to Riyadh, Kadir said: “The goal is to confirm the strategy and importance of the two countries’ relationship and to explore more opportunities for comprehensive cooperation.”

Kadir met several Saudi officials, including the Kingdom’s top diplomat, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the most important countries in the Middle East and West Asia,” stressed Kadir.

As for his meetings with Saudi officials, Kadir said they encompassed discussions on ways and means to explore and grow economic and trade partnerships.

“I reviewed with Prince Faisal bin Farhan the most important developments in the regional and international arenas,” revealed Kadir, adding that Malaysia seeks to intensify joint coordination in the political field with Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, Kuala Lumpur wants to consolidate economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia in a way that achieves common interests.

As for Saudi Arabia’s climate-focused Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives, Kadir voiced Malaysia’s desire to be a part of the Kingdom’s action plans.

“We want to be part of these initiatives,” affirmed Kadir, adding that Saudi Arabia and Malaysia could utilize smart government companies to strengthen the partnership in developments.

Regarding the fight against terrorism and boosting regional stability, Kadir noted that the Kingdom and Malaysia prioritize eliminating the menace of terrorism, which threatens people worldwide.

“Terrorism issues top our priorities. We must address this matter, as it is not limited to a specific region or country,” said Kadir.

“Terrorism truly poses a danger to all people in the whole world. Therefore, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have a long-term security and defense strategy,” he added.

“We established a Malaysian Defense Attaché Office in 2017, and our Malaysian Armed Forces have also been invited to participate in training,” reminded Kadir.

“The Malaysian government has agreed to deploy two of our military officers under the auspices of the Kingdom’s invitation to the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition,” said Kadir.

The Coalition is an intergovernmental counter-terrorism body trained by various Muslim countries to enhance cooperation and intelligence sharing in collective counter-terrorism efforts.

“Malaysia has also been a strong supporter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) counter-terrorism initiative to prevent extremism and violence,” added Kadir.

“The world has become interconnected. What happens in one region will have an impact that extends to different parts of the world. If anything happens in this region (Middle East), Southeast Asia and Malaysia will be affected as well,” explained the top diplomat.

Kadir said that the ripple effect necessitates well-coordinated efforts, especially with Saudi Arabia.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat