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ISLAMABAD: A high-level Saudi delegation, led by Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, will arrive on a two-day official visit today (Monday) ahead of yet to be officially confirmed visit by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on April 22.

According to Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Saudi delegation consists of Saudi Minister of Water and Agriculture, Eng Abdul Rahman Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadley, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Ibrahim AlKhorayef, Deputy Minister of Investment, Badr AlBadr, Head of Saudi Special Committee, Mohammad Mazyed Al Towaijri, and senior officials from Ministry of Energy and Saudi Fund for General Investments.

She said that the two-day visit from 15 to 16 April 2024 takes place essentially to expedite follow up on the understanding reached between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during their recent meeting in Makkah Al Mukarramah to enhance bilateral economic cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi crown prince accepts PM Shehbaz’s invitation to visit Pakistan, Islamabad says

The Saudi delegation is expected to hold meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and counterpart Ministers, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir and the Apex Committee of SIFC. “This visit is aimed at lending positive impetus to enhanced bilateral cooperation and mutually rewarding economic partnership,” the spokesperson added.

Diplomatic sources; however, maintained that the Saudi foreign minister and his delegation will hold crucial talks with Pakistani leadership covering bilateral cooperation in various fields and the new developments in the Middle East following Iranian attacks on Israel with dozens of drones and cruse missiles. They said that the talks will focus on bilateral cooperation in various areas, particularly the expected Saudi investment in various areas under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC). They said that the two sides will also exchange views on the regional situations, particularly the developments in the Middle East following Iran launched dozens of missiles and drones against Israel earlier late on Saturday. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are calling for restraint to prevent further escalation.

A state owned media reported on Sunday that Saudi investment of up to 1 billion USD is likely next month in the Reko Diq Copper Gold project located in Chagai district in Balochistan. It stated that Special Investment Facilitation Council is trying to remove obstacles in this regard.

In order to ensure the smooth completion of Saudi investments, the Prime Minister will constitute a committee of Finance Ministry, comprising all stakeholders of country. Following this investment, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will sign agreements for further investment in the mining sector, according to media reports.

The Saudi foreign minister’s visit is also important in the context that Iranian President is also expected to arrive on April 22. However, it was not yet clear as to whether the Iranian President’s visit will happen as per schedule or it may be postponed due to newly emerged situations in the Middle East.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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