South Arabia agrees to discuss extending term of $3bn loan

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia agreed on Sunday to discuss extending the term of a $3 billion loan to help Pakistan’s new government weather the current economic crisis.

Saudi Arabia has affirmed its continued support for Pakistan and its economy, including talks of increasing the $3 billion deposit with the central bank through term extension or otherwise, and l exploring options to further improve the financing of petroleum products and support economic structural reforms for the benefit of Pakistan and its people.

In a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s three-day official visit to the kingdom, Islamabad and Riyadh said both sides support the unity and independence of regional countries and their integrity territory, as well as to prioritize policy solutions that bring prosperity and progress to the region and its people.

“Pakistan greatly appreciates the strong and continued support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan,” the statement said.

In the political context, the two sides exchanged views on issues of common interest at the regional and international levels and agreed to continue to coordinate their positions in a manner that serves their interests, the joint statement said.

The Kingdom welcomes Pakistan’s concern to find a solution to all disputes with India; Prime Minister Sharif, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi discuss cooperation on multiple fronts

The Prime Minister accompanied by a delegation visited the kingdom at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Both sides agreed to continue to exchange support and coordination in international organizations and forums and stressed the importance of all countries’ commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, adherence to principles of good neighbourliness, respect for the unity and sovereignty of States, non-interference in internal affairs and the will to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

Saudi Arabia welcomed Pakistan’s statements of concern to find a solution to all disputes with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir conflict. Both sides underscored the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve issues between the two countries, especially the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, to ensure peace and stability in the region. .

During an official meeting between the Prime Minister and the Saudi Crown Prince, they reviewed the historical relations between the two countries and the close cooperation in various fields, as well as discussed ways to strengthen relations in all fields. .

In the bilateral context, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening work through the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, diversifying trade exchanges between the two brotherly countries and intensifying communication between the private sector of two countries to discuss trade and investment opportunities. and turn them into concrete partnerships.

The two sides also agreed to deepen investment cooperation between the two countries, boost partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities between the private sectors of the two countries. They also agreed to join efforts to develop the investment environment in the two countries and support a number of investment sectors of common interest.

The two sides expressed their intention to hold investment forums to introduce the opportunities available to the business sectors of both sides, urge them to establish partnerships in various fields of investment and work together to meet the challenges. faced by investors through meetings of the Saudi-Pakistani Business Council.

The two sides welcomed the entry of the private sector of the two countries into investment partnerships in the areas of agriculture and food industries.

They expressed hope that the Russian and Ukrainian sides will reach a political solution that would end the crisis, ensure security and stability and limit negative repercussions at the regional and international levels.

The two sides discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan and agreed on the need to ensure security and stability and prevent the use of Afghan lands as a haven for terrorist groups.

They also stressed the importance of respecting the rights guaranteed by the tolerant Islamic Sharia, in order to ensure security and peace in Afghanistan, and the continuation of concerted international efforts to come to the aid of the Afghan people.

However, some government sources on condition of anonymity claimed that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the existing aid package from more than $4 billion to Pakistan to more than $7 billion.

As part of the package, Saudi Arabia will extend the secure deposit of $3 billion for one year and expand oil supply on deferred payments to $2.4 billion per year. It has also been learned that Pakistan will issue Sukuk bonds worth over $2 billion which will be purchased by the Saudi government.

Prime Minister’s visit to the UAE

During his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. They discussed the advancement of the long-standing relationship between the two nations and the prospects of propelling cooperation on various fronts.

The two sides reviewed a number of regional and international issues of common interest, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The meeting took place at Qasr Al Shati Palace, where the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi wished Prime Minister Sharif every success in leading Pakistan towards further progress and prosperity in the coming period.

Sheikh Mohammed underscored the importance of the historical relations between the two nations and the valuable contributions made by the Pakistani community in the UAE to the successful development of the country.

He wished that permanent stability prevails for the benefit of the region, stressing the support of the United Arab Emirates to all measures conducive to the realization of peace and cooperation in the region and elsewhere.

Posted in Dawn, May 2, 2022

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