Islamabad: Pakistan has formally invited Saudi Arabia to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects as third and major strategic partner, Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan's two-day visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), Chaudhry said that Pakistan's main interest lies in cooperation with Saudi Arabia on matters of trade and security.
"A high-level coordination committee has has been constituted [to look into matters of trade and commerce] and it has the complete backing of the Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, as well as the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman] and PM Khan," The Dawn qouted Fawad Chaudhry as saying.
The information minister announced that high-level delegations from Saudi Arabia and UAE will visit Pakistan to discuss trade and security in October.
The Saudi ministers of treasury and power as well as business leaders will be in the delegation. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will finalise an important economic partnership during this visit, the information minister said.
He said that Saudi Arabia is the first country that Pakistan has invited to become a third partner in CPEC, and the projects that Saudi Arabia will be investing in will be worked out during the Saudi delegation's visit, scheduled for the first week of October.
"We expect major investments from Saudi Arabia," he said.
"Our strategic cooperation has been revitalised. We have assured the Saudi leadership that we will continue to provide security to their country and provide strategic support wherever needed," Chaudhry said.
The information minister said that in Abu Dhabi, the Pakistani delegation was received by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed. Matters of mutual interest were discussed in detail during the meeting," Chaudhry said.
"I should mention here that the relations between Pakistan and UAE and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had been frosty for the past few years, and this visit changed that," the information minister said.
He added that the complications in the procurement of UAE visas and other matters will be resolved soon as the matters had come under discussion during the visit.
"The foreign office will soon send a proposal to UAE and it is expected that these issues will be resolved for the thousands of Pakistanis that are dwelling in the Emirates," Chaudhry assured.
The information minister said that UAE would also help Pakistan in many projects, including the provision of fresh water to Karachi. "Delegations from UAE will come to Pakistan in October to discuss these matters," he said.
"It is important to mention here that Muhammad bin Zayed has a great standing in GCC and Saudi Arabia, and his support will go a long way for Pakistan," Chaudhry said.
China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction across Pakistan. Originally valued at $46 billion, the value of CPEC projects is now worth $62 billion. CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
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