S. Arabia agrees to discuss extending term of $3bn loan

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

Saudi Arabia affirmed its continuous support to Pakistan and its economy, including discussion of augmenting $3bn deposit with the central bank through term extension or otherwise, and exploring options to further enhance the financing of petroleum products and supporting the economic structural reforms for the benefit of Pakistan and its people.

In a joint statement issued at the conclusion of three-day official visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to the kingdom, Islamabad and Riyadh said both sides supported the unity and independence of the countries of the region and their territorial integrity, as well as to give priority to political solutions that bring prosperity and progress to the region and its people.

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

In the political context, the two sides exchanged views on issues of mutual concern in the regional and international levels, and agreed to continue coordinating their positions in a way that serves their interests, the joint statement said.

Kingdom welcomes Pakistan’s keenness to find solution to all disputes with India; PM Sharif, Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss cooperation on various fronts

The prime minister along with a delegation visited the kingdom at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The two sides agreed to continue exchanging support and coordination in international organisations and forums and stressed the importance of all countries’ commitment to the United Nations’ charter and the principles of international law, adherence to the principles of good neighborliness, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in internal affairs, and striving to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

Saudi Arabia welcomed the statements of Pakistan mentioning keenness to find a solution to all disputes with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India in order to resolve the issues between the two countries, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, 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 areas.

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

The two sides also agreed to deepen the investment cooperation between the two countries, stimulate 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 in order to introduce the available opportunities to the business sectors of both sides, urge them to establish partnerships in various investment fields, and work jointly to address the challenges faced by the investors through meetings of the Saudi-Pakistani Business Council.

The two sides welcomed the entry of the private sector of both countries into investment partnerships in the agricultural and food industries fields.

They expressed the hope that Russian and Ukrainian sides would reach a political solution that would end the crisis, achieve 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 achieve security and stability, and to prevent the use of Afghan lands as a shelter for terrorist groups.

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

However, some government sources on condition of anonymity claimed that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the existing over $4bn assistance package to Pakistan to over $ 7 billion.

Under the package Saudi Arabia will extend $3bn safe deposit for another one year and extend oil supplies on deferred payments to $2.4bn per year. It has also been learnt that Pakistan will issue Sukuk Bonds worth over $2bn which will be bought by the Saudi government.

PM’s visit to UAE

During his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. They discussed advancing the longstanding relations 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 concern, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The meeting took place at Qasr Al Shati Palace where the Abu Dhabi crown prince wished PM Sharif success in leading Pakistan towards further progress and prosperity over the coming period.

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

He wished for permanent stability to prevail for the benefit of the region, stressing UAE’s support for all steps conducive to achieving peace and cooperation in the region and elsewhere.

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