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Joint Statement for the visit of the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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On the kind invitation, extended by His Royal Highness, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Imran Khan paid an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 7-9 May 2021, corresponding to 25-27 Ramadan 1442/AH. His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

2.The two leaders reaffirmed the historical and fraternal ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, reviewed all facets of bilateral cooperation and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen relations of the two brotherly countries in all fields, and agreed to intensify contacts and cooperation between government officials and the private sector in the two countries with the aim of promoting bilateral relations to the benefit of both countries.

3.His Excellency Prime Minister Imran Khan praised the leadership role of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in promoting Islamic unity, and the positive role of the Kingdom in resolving the issues facing the Islamic world, as well as its endeavours for regional and international peace and security.

4.The Prime Minister recalled his visits to the Kingdom in 2018 and 2019, as well as the historic visit of His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence to Pakistan in February 2019, during which the two leaders jointly announced the launch of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, to further enhance bilateral cooperation based on mutual trust, benefits and common interests of the two countries. The Crown Prince assured the Prime Minister of the Kingdom’s continued support to Prime Minister’s vision to transform Pakistan into a modern developed and welfare state.

5.The two sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision and Pakistan’s development priorities emanating from a shift from geo-politics to geo-economics. The discussions also focused on increasing cooperation in other fields, including energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture. Both sides expressed satisfaction at existing cooperation in bilateral military and security relations, and agreed to further augment collaboration and cooperation to achieve mutually agreed goals.

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6.The two leaders also discussed issues pertaining to the Islamic world. They stressed the need for concerted efforts by the Muslim countries to confront extremism and violence, reject sectarianism, and strive to achieve international peace and security. They also stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations. They reaffirmed that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.

7.In the constructive spirit of discussions, the two sides reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially, their right to self determination and establishment of their independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions. They also expressed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, as well as the efforts of the United Nations and its envoys in this regard.

8.The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution (2216). They condemned the attacks of terrorist groups and militias, including Houthi militias, by ballistic missiles and drones on the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against vital installations and civilian objects. They expressed serious concern at the threats posed to the security of oil exports and the stability of energy supplies, which was vital for the progress and development of the region and its peoples. The Prime Minister praised the role of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the resolution of crisis in Yemen which aims at achieving peace and security in Yemen which will result in prosperity and development of the region and its people.

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9.Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the Crown Prince acknowledged Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process. The two sides, underlining that an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement is the only way forward, urged the Afghan parties to realize the historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to continue mutual consultations on the Afghan peace process.

10.Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to continue supporting each other at multilateral fora. They agreed to further deepen coordination and cooperation to safeguard mutual interests and uphold the principles of fairness and justice. The two sides also stressed the importance of the commitment by all States to the United Nations Charter, the principles and decisions of international legitimacy, as well as adherence to the principles of good neighbourly relations, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and the endeavour to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

11.His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, welcomed the recent understanding reached between the military authorities of Pakistan and India regarding ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between Pakistan and India. The two sides emphasized the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region.

12.The Prime Minister congratulated the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for successfully organizing and holding the G20 summit meetings and the positive decisions that resulted from it in economic, developmental, environmental, health, energy and other fields.

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13.Acknowledging the leading role of the Kingdom in addressing international issues, in particular the challenge posed by climate change, the Prime Minister welcomed “the Saudi Green and Middle East Green Initiatives” launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and hoped that the initiatives will have a positive impact on the region, its inhabitants and beyond. The Crown Prince appreciated the Prime Minister’s “Clean and Green Pakistan” initiative, as well as the successful “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” initiative.

14.The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the Kingdom and its leadership in serving the Two Holy Mosques, their pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors, especially in organizing the Hajj season for the past year 1441 AH, despite the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic.

15.In order to further strengthen and diversify bilateral relations, the following agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were signed; i. Agreement on Establishment of Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC); ii. MoU in Combating Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Presursor Chemicals; iii. Framework MoU between SFD and Islamic Republic of Pakistan for financing projects in Energy, Hydropower Generation, Infrastructure, Transport & Communication and Water Resource Development; iiii. Cooperation Agreement in the Field of Combating Crimes; and v. Agreement on Transfer of Convicted Prisoners.

16.The Prime Minister expressed gratitude and offered his best wishes to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, and the brotherly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince warmly reciprocated with best wishes for the health and wellbeing of the Prime Minister, and prayers for the progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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Oil breaks $90/bbl for the first time since 2014 on Russia tensions

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NEW YORK: Oil touched $90 a barrel for the first time in seven years on Wednesday, supported by tight supply and rising political tensions in Russia that raised concerns about further disruption in an already-tight market.

Brent crude rose $2.02, or 2.3%, to $90.22 by 11:21 a.m. EST (1621 GMT), the first time the global benchmark has broken $90 since October 2014. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $2.09, or 2.4%, to $87.69.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he would consider personal sanctions on President Vladimir Putin if Russia invades Ukraine. On Monday, Yemen’s Houthi movement launched a missile attack on a United Arab Emirates base.

“World inventories have continued to decline as producers have struggled to restore production to pre-pandemic levels,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston. “Mix that in with geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and prices have continued their march upward.”

Oil broadly stable as tight supply counters falling US markets

The tensions have only added to worries about the various factors contributing to an already tight market. OPEC+ is having trouble meeting monthly production targets as it restores supply to markets after drastic cuts in 2020, and the United States is more than a million barrels short of its record level of daily output.

At the same time, demand remains strong, suggesting that inventories may continue to decline.

“Historically, markets led higher by tightening product and crude inventories are difficult to solve absent a demand destruction event or an injection of supply. Neither appear on the horizon, currently,” wrote Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets, in a note.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, meets on Feb. 2 to consider another output increase.

Inventories in the United States rose in the most recent week, with crude stocks up by 2.4 million barrels, against expectations for a modest decline in stocks. Gasoline inventories rose to their highest levels in almost a year – a needed salve for the market.

US refined product supplied – a measure of demand – surged again, putting the four-week moving average at 21.2 million barrels per day, ahead of pre-pandemic trends. The increases have been led by consumption of distillates like diesel, as gasoline use has fallen off modestly in recent weeks.

Investors across the markets are awaiting the coming policy update from the US Federal Reserve at 2 p.m. EST. The Fed is expected to signal plans to raise interest rates in March as it focuses on fighting inflation.

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Lithops App Brings History to Life With the Power of AI and Rich Storytelling ….Amazing Experience

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The app, Lithops, is a history-telling mobile app that unveils the significance of the world’s statues by digitizing them with AI. The app is designed to reintroduce global audiences to history in an entertaining, highly-informative way, allowing for unprecedented engagement with AI-rendered video narrations by the historical figures themselves. World travelers, art appreciators and history buffs alike can access highly-detailed and historically accurate educational content while earning points, collecting badges and even taking augmented selfies with their favorite statues all via the Lithops mobile app.

The application is being developed by MechaPal, a Tokyo/Hiroshima Japan based startup with a vision of reducing the gap between technological advances and business needs. As their flagship product, Lithops will add the touch of sound, animation, expression and accessibility to historical monuments the world over.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The app first takes a picture of any statue and, using the power of AI and animation, brings it to life with human facial characteristics such as head, eye and mouth movements. They can even reconstruct broken or incomplete statues as well.
  2. Next, the Lithops app generates a verified and historically-accurate script and audio describing the statue’s significance, narrated by the statue itself with lip-syncing AI.
  3. Combining these components, the “Lithop” is then rendered in high-resolution and complete with music and background content.

Users can access all of this content via the Lithops app – where they can explore a map of Lithops scattered within a 50KM radius of their location. Lithops will appear within 100 meters of the user and can be interacted with in a 10-meter radius. Users receive a notification when a Lithop is available to interact with and can choose to meet the Lithop, listen to their story and take an augmented selfie with it as well. Each selfie creates a memory that can then be shared with friends. Interacting with a Lithop also allows the user to earn points which can be redeemed for coupons and other rewards from local vendors. Once earned, the Lithop and all of its content can then be accessed via the app at any time.

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Ready for more? Lithops allows anyone to uncover the history of the world’s statues and monuments with digitized content powered by AI. The team behind the app is currently in an active Kickstarter campaign, where pledges have dedicated $3,862 of their $87,284 goal.

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Conflict

Guterres reaffirms UN stand on Kashmir’s settlement on basis of Security Council resolutions

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UNITED NATIONS, : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Friday reiterated the world body’s position on the Kashmir dispute that it should be resolved on the basis of the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan, with the hope that human rights will be respected in the disputed territory.

“Well, the position of the UN … when the resolutions that were taken … remains the same,” he said in reply to a question from APP correspondent, who reminded him of the statement he made on August 8, 2019, at his first press conference in the new year as he began his second term as the UN chief.

The secretary-general pointed out that the United Nations has a peacekeeping operation in Kashmir — the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which monitors the Line of Control in the disputed region.

He said he had offered his “good offices” to resolve the dispute several times, and “we hope that this is something that can be solved peacefully, and that the situation in Kashmir is a situation in which human rights are respected and in which people can live in peace and security.”

Pakistan has always welcomed UN secretary-General’s offer of mediation, but India always rejected it.

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