Asia - pacific

Saudi crown prince delays visit to Pakistan

Mohammad bin Salman to visit Islamabad on Sunday, no reason cited for delay

16.02.2019
Saudi crown prince delays visit to Pakistan

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman delayed his visit to Islamabad by a day, officials said Saturday.

He is due to arrive in the capital on Sunday for a two-day official visit accompanied by a high-level delegation including members of the royal family.

Earlier, he was expected to arrive on Saturday, but the visit was delayed without citing any reason.

"The crown prince will visit Pakistan on 17-18 February. The visit program remains unchanged," Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

According to Pakistani officials, several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will be signed between both countries including the establishment of an oil refinery and petrochemical complex in southwestern strategic Gwadar port.

Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council led by bin Salman and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan will be launched during the visit.

According to experts, the Saudi investment will help the Pakistani economy, currently compounded by recent currency devaluation and declining foreign reserves.

Last September, Pakistan formally invited Saudi Arabia to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative project, but a reported difference with Beijing could not materialize the offer.

Nevertheless, Riyadh agreed to invest in CPEC-related projects. It has already announced financing of three CPEC projects in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The CPEC signed in 2014 seeks to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to the port of Gwadar through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.

After visiting Pakistan, the crown prince will visit neighboring India.




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