Malaysian Prime Minister Receives Saudi Arabia's Highest Award by Saudi King Abdullah

Jan 19, 2010, 09:52 ET from The Prime Minister's Office, Malaysia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, January 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was conferred the King Abdulaziz Sash Order of Merit of the First Class, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's highest honour, by King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, which the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said "is granted to crown princes and prime ministers of brotherly and friendly countries".

Notable leaders who received the award in the past include President Barack Obama of the United States and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The event took place at the Conference Palace where Najib had an audience with the Saudi King in conjunction with his official four-day state visit to Saudi Arabia from Wednesday 13th - Saturday 16th January.

"I would like to express my deepest gratitude to His Majesty for the award. I consider this as a manifestation of the close relations enjoyed between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia," Najib told reporters before departing for Abu Dhabi and on to India.

Najib said the award also signified vast potential for cooperation that could be forged between the two Islamic nations, not only for their common benefit but also for the larger Muslim community.

"We also appreciate that some parties in Saudi Arabia are keen to invest in Malaysia, like PetroSaudi International Ltd which has established a joint venture with 1Malaysia Development Bhd," he said.

He had a two-hour discussion with Saudi King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud during which the King noted that he wanted Malaysia to be the gateway for the country's interest in the region.

King Abdullah discussed Malaysia's special relations with China and noted that Malaysia can help it facilitate more trade links with the Asian giant.

On King Abdullah's initiative for promoting inter-faith dialogue, Najib said Malaysia too was keen on forging greater understanding among people of many different faiths and beliefs. Najib and the Saudi King also discussed developments in Afghanistan and terrorism.

"There is a need for our two countries to seek greater cooperation to deal with the threat of terrorism in all its forms," Najib said, adding that a formal pact on this may be on the cards.

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SOURCE The Prime Minister's Office, Malaysia