Pakistan, UAE vow to bolster 'strategic partnership' in joint statement

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (L) meets UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, UAE. — Twitter/@Marriyum_A
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (L) meets UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, UAE. — Twitter/@Marriyum_A

  • PM Shehbaz holds meetings with UAE leadership.
  • Discussions focused on strengthening bilateral relationships.
  • UAE announces $3 billion economic relief for Pakistan.

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed on the need to intensify the "strategic partnership and cooperation" between the two countries during a bilateral meeting, a joint statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO) said Friday. 

The statement was issued at the conclusion of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's two-day official visit to the Gulf country during which he met UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and held detailed discussions on concrete measures to strengthen the bilateral relationship. 

On Thursday, the UAE also provided a $3 billion lifeline to Pakistan to help the country amid depleting forex reserves.

During the meeting, the two sides — with a view to developing tangible and meaningful bilateral cooperation in key areas — agreed to intensify consultation and coordination to bolster strategic partnership and cooperation, particularly in the field of information and communication technologies and work together for bridging the digital divide.

The two leaders, the statement added, also exchanged views on regional political and security matters. 

"They also discussed a specific initiative to enhance cooperation in political, defence, economic, commercial and cultural areas, developing joint ventures, and strengthening collaboration in the human resource sector," it said. 

The prime minister thanked the UAE president for generous assistance during the recent floods in Pakistan, particularly through an air bridge established for this purpose.

During PM Shehbaz's interaction with the UAE leadership, both countries reaffirmed their historical and brotherly ties, rooted in shared religion, culture, values, and pursuit of regional and global peace and security. They also expressed satisfaction at the convergence of views on a host of regional and global issues.

Based on their decades-old fraternal ties, both countries expressed solidarity with each other in efforts to preserve their sovereignty and territorial integrity, read the statement. 

Moreover, the two sides signed Memoranda of Understanding in the field of combating human trafficking, information exchange, and between the diplomatic academies of both countries.

Accepting PM Shehbaz's invitation to Pakistan, President Nahyan agreed to visit Pakistan at a later date.

This was the prime minister's third visit to the UAE after assuming office. He is also accompanied by a high-level delegation, including key members of the cabinet. 

Loan to Pakistan

A day earlier, the UAE president agreed to roll over the existing loan of $2 billion and provide an additional $1 billion loan to Pakistan. 

The much-needed relief was critical for cash-strapped Pakistan’s distressed economy as the ninth review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to clear the release of the next $1.1 billion tranche of funds has been pending since September.

Pakistan faces a severe economic crisis, with its central bank foreign exchange reserves falling to a critical level of below $5 billion, which is barely enough for three weeks of imports.