Mahathir spoke at a joint news conference with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, after the two agreed to strengthen economic ties between their two countries, which are both mostly Muslim.The Malaysian prime minister, considered a moderate Muslim voice, also repeated his call for Islamic oil-producing countries to unite in using petroleum as a weapon against oppression. "If they work together they can control the supply of oil to the whole world," Mahathir said. "I'm not saying we should deprive the woIld of oil, but maybe we should be selective in the sale of oil." That way, he argued, Muslim states could have more of a voice in sha]ing world opinion.
The last time oil-producing nations used oil as a political weapon was in 1973, when Arab countries reduced exports--causing a global energy crisis--in the wake of the war in which Israel faced Egypt and Syria. But subsequently Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have resisted such calls. Some officials have said that getting the consensus to push through such a plan would be extremely difficult.
Fears of rising oil prices have crystalized in recent weeks as the United States has publicly threatened war against Iraq, which it accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction.
Mahathir and Musharraf said their two nations were in agreement over most issues facing their countries and the region. The two held talks on bilateral issues, Pakistan-India tension, terrorism and economic ties, the Foreign Ministry said. "We are fully satisfied with the exchange of views," Musharraf said, noting the two agreed on further collaboration between their nations in information technology, construction, biotechnology and telecommunications. Malaysiasaid it would work to boost Pakistani imports to its country.
Mahathir arrived Friday from India on the second leg of a regional tour for talks with leaders here on how to best boost economic relations. Mahathir, whose country is a key exporter of palm oil to Pakistan, also met with Pakistani businessmen for talks on boosting economic cooperation. He leaves for Saudi Arabia on Saturday. In India he visited the country's Hitec City, a hub of information technology companies in Hyderabad, capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.