Islamabad, Riyadh need to expedite first phase of Saudi investments: PM Shehbaz

Saudi foreign minister highlights that Riyadh attaches high importance to its strong and close ties with Pakistan

Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
April 16, 2024

ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Islamabad and Riyadh needed to work closely toexpedite the first phase of Saudi investments under the new arrangement.

The premier made these comments as he met with a high-level Saudi delegation, led by its Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, who are in Pakistan on an official visit.

The two-day visit comes soon after PM Shehbaz visited Saudi Arabia, during which the Kingdom had doubled down on its pledge to speed up the initial phase of their $5 billion investment in Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Geo Newsalso learnt via sources that Saudi Arabia was expected to invest $1 billion in the Reko Diq project.

During the meeting today, PM Shehbaz expressed his deep appreciation for the leadership of KSA and conveyed his sincerest wishes to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The prime minister also underscored the significance accorded by Pakistan to its longstanding fraternal, economic and strategic relations with Saudi Arabia. He said both countries had always stood together at all times.

While recalling his warm and productive meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Makkah earlier this month, the PM stated that the visit of the Saudi delegation was a manifestation of the strong commitment of both countries to the strengthening of bilateral relations focused on mutually beneficial economic cooperation.

PM Shehbaz also informed thedelegation about the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and its initiatives to promote investment in Pakistan.

He also highlighted the key role of Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir and the cooperation of all institutions for the promotion of investment in the country through SIFC.

On the other hand, the Saudi foreign ministerexpressed gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to his delegation and highlighted that the Kingdom attached high importance to its strong and close ties with Pakistan.

The foreign minister conveyed the KSA's commitment to an enhanced strategic and economic partnership with Pakistan. The two sides also discussed theescalating situation in Palestine.

Zardari meets Saudi delegation

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari also held a meeting with the delegation in which the two sidesreiterated their resolve to build a strong partnership and further promote economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.

"Welcoming the delegation, the president said that Pakistan and KSA enjoyed a long-standing and decades-old relationship and Pakistan wanted to transform the existing ties into a long-term strategic and economic partnership," said the statement.

President Zardari also highlighted that the government and people ofPakistan had the highest regard for the Saudi king and would continue to stand with KSA.

He also thanked the leadership of Saudi Arabia for its support to Pakistan in difficult times.

Meanwhile, Saudi foreign minister said that Riyadhconsidered its relations with Islamabadvery critical and was committed to building a strong partnership.

Highlight that bothcountries enjoyed strong bonds and had helped each other for decades,Farhan Al Saudappreciated the contributions of the Pakistani diaspora in the development of KSA.

"He conveyed the greetings of Saudi leadership and underlined the importance of Pakistan for KSA," added the statement.

"The two sides discussed the regional dynamics and recent developments in the Middle East and called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and end to the Israeli atrocities in Gaza

"Both sides also exchanged views on issues of bilateral importance and the challenges being faced by the Muslim Ummah," it added.