- Announcement comes after PM reached UAE on two-day visit
The United Arab Emirates agreed on Thursday to roll over the existing loan of $2 billion and provide an additional loan of $1 billion, said a statement from Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE in Abu Dhabi, today,” it said.
“Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed Prime Minister Sharif to Abu Dhabi and wished progress and prosperity for Pakistan. He praised the historical relations between the two nations and the valuable contributions made by the Pakistani community in the UAE.
“The Prime Minister thanked the UAE President for inviting him to the brotherly country. The two leaders discussed the fraternal relations existing between Pakistan and the UAE; and explored ways and means to further strengthen these ties, especially in the fields of trade, investment and energy. The two leaders also had an exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” the statement added.
“Both sides agreed to deepen investment cooperation, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities between the two countries.
“They also expressed satisfaction over the pace of steady progress in bilateral relations. They agreed on the importance of enhanced bilateral exchanges and regular dialogue at all levels to further solidify and provide momentum to the relationship.”
PM Shehbaz also invited the UAE president on a state visit to Pakistan to which he agreed. The dates will be decided through diplomatic channels, the statement added.
PM Shehbaz had earlier reached UAE on a two-day official visit at the invitation of the UAE president.
He was received by UAE’s Minister for Economic Affairs Abdullah Touq Al Mari at the Abu Dhabi airport.
After landing in UAE, the PM tweeted that his visit was aimed at “building on the conversation” with President Sheikh Al Nahyan.
“We share a resolve and understanding that continuous efforts need to be made to further strengthen trade, investment and economic relations,” PM Shehbaz said.
As per the Foreign Office (FO), the PM was due to hold discussions with a particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries.
“The two leaders will exchange views on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest,” the FO had stated.
PM Shehbaz will also meet with His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the PM and Vice President of the UAE.
This is the PM’s third visit to the UAE after assuming office. The premier is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including key members of the cabinet.
During the latest visit, PM Shehbaz will hold meetings with Emirati businessmen and investors to discuss ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment.
“Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates enjoy close and fraternal ties based on common faith and traditions, shared history and heritage; deep-rooted cultural affinities, geographic proximity and identity of view on several regional and global issues. Regular high-level exchanges and visits are a key feature of this relationship,” the FO said.
Citing reports, Reuters said PM Shehbaz will seek a fresh economic package and will also seek deferment of a $2 billion loan repayment to the UAE due in the coming weeks. The news agency also quoted sources as saying the PM will hold talks for finalising a $2 billion investment in Pakistan.
Earlier, sources told Business Recorder that the government has prepared a “wish list” to be presented to UAE’s top brass.
During a meeting on the proposed scheduled visit of the PM, Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Ishaq Dar said it was essential that the Pakistan side went there with a focused and well-prepared agenda.
He said government priorities should be: (i) roll-over of the amounts already deposited by the UAE with State Bank; an announcement to this effect during this visit would be very helpful; (ii) request UAE to beef up its deposits by an additional $2 billion; (iii) effort should be made to settle the long-standing Etisalat/PTCL issue; and (iv) Prime Minister may like to meet the head or CEO of Abu Dhabi Holdings and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.