Saudi Arabia to Become Partner in CPEC, PM Imran Offers Same to UAE

SEP 20, 2018 (BE2C2): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Thursday said Saudi Arabia would be the third partner in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and invest in projects in Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference in capital Islamabad, he said Pakistan had invited Saudi Arabia to join CPEC and both the countries would strengthen their strategic partnership by cooperating in areas of trade, economy and security.

He said a high level Coordination Committee of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had been formed, adding two high powered Saudi Arabian and the United Arab Emirates delegations would visit Pakistan next month to hold talks and look into opportunities for business and investment in the country.

The delegation would include Saudi finance and energy ministers, he added.

Talking about the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia, the Info Minister said for the first time in decades it was a state visit and the Pakistani delegation had the honor to visit inside the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH) and go inside Khana Kaaba and the Pakistani entourage offered prayers at Riaz-ul-Janna at Masjid-e-Nabvi in Madina.

He said Pakistani community and Saudi citizens gave unprecedented welcome to the delegation led by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Riyadh and Jeddah whose roads were adorned with Pakistani flags.

The minister said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman held detailed discussions with Prime Minister Imran Khan and assured that Saudi Arabia would always stand with Pakistan.

Imran Khan told the Saudi leadership that Pakistan would always be available to Saudi Arabia in the matters of security, he added.

According to a source, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Bajwa has taken the Chinese into confidence on taking KSA in CPEC and assured them full security of CPEC whereas the PM has taken KSA in confidence and assured them their investments will be in safe hands as Pakistan is developing a corruption free system.

Sen. Syed Mushahid Hussain, who is also Chairman Pak-China Institute welcomed the decision to rope in Saudi Arabia as third strategic partner in CPEC.

“CPEC success evident from decision of Saudi Arabia to participate actively in this project, which is a welcome development, as it will help counter negativism about CPEC emanating from India & US & it reaffirms Pakistan’s key role as emerging hub of regional economic cooperation,” he tweeted.

The info minister firther said issues related to complication in issuance of visa was also discussed by the two sides and the Foreign Office would prepare proposals to facilitate the process of visa.

The Prime Minister also held fruitful discussions with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed al Nahyan and also informed him about his narrative and initiatives related to Afghanistan.

The UAE had a prominent place in the Arab world and its viewpoint was given importance, he added.

He said the UAE would send a delegation to Pakistan for investment in water supply projects in Karachi. According to a source, PM Khan also offered UAE partnership in CPEC. Both UAE and Saudi Arabia combined have the largest sovereign wealth fund in the region and seek to invest globally in value-added and non-oil sectors.

While the Kingdom has a $224 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF), UAE has a $125 billion Mubadala Investment Group.

Fawad said Pakistan had also engaged Iran and India to improve ties with those countries. The United States bombed Afghanistan for 16 years but could not find any solution, he remarked.

So Afghanistan needed a solution which would make it stable, while Pakistan should have a normal relationship with India so that the regional countries could garner advantage through CPEC and other projects, he asserted.

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