Saudi delegation led by FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan lands in Pakistan

—  Dar welcomes visiting delegation at airport, reflecting warm relationship, brotherhood between two countries

— Saudi delegation to discuss accelerating process of a $5 billion investment in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia, led by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a two-day visit.

The Saudi foreign minister was warmly welcomed upon arrival in Islamabad, with a red carpet reception. He was received by Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar on the tarmac, reflecting the close relationship and brotherhood between the two countries.

Prince Faisal was presented with bouquets by children upon arrival, and he inspected the static guard while the military band played.

The visit aims to fast-track the implementation of agreements made between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during their recent meeting in Makkah.

The discussions will focus on strengthening bilateral economic cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The delegation comprises key officials including 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 the Ministry of Energy and Saudi Fund for General Investments.

During its stay, the Saudi delegation is expected to engage in meetings with the president, the prime minister, the foreign minister, and relevant ministers, as well as the chief of army staff and the apex committee of SIFC.

The visit is anticipated to provide a significant boost to bilateral cooperation and foster a mutually beneficial economic partnership between the two nations.

Earlier, people familiar with the development said that the top Saudi diplomat will be accompanied by key ministers from the kingdom, including energy and investment.

The visit is a follow-up of PM Shehbaz’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia where he held wide-ranging talks with the Saudi crown prince. The primary objective of his visit was to persuade the Saudi government to help Pakistan revitalise its economy through investments.

In the wake of the meeting between the prime minister and the de facto Saudi ruler, both parties reached an agreement to accelerate the process of a $5 billion investment, previously discussed between the two nations.

Sources close to the matter revealed that the Saudi crown prince informed PM Shehbaz about sending a high-level delegation to Islamabad shortly to finalise the details of the investment.

Pakistan is hoping to attract billions of dollars in investment from Saudi Arabia as part of its initiative under the banner of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), a civil-military forum aimed at removing bottlenecks and other bureaucratic hurdles hindering foreign investment.

Islamabad is offering Saudi investors stakes in the multi-billion-dollar Reko Diq mine projects. Similarly, the SIFC is keen for Saudis to invest in the agricultural sector.

Sources have indicated that the Saudi foreign minister and other delegation members will receive detailed presentations about the potential areas of investment.

Pakistan is eager for investments to commence sooner rather than later, as it will not only enhance foreign reserves but also stimulate economic growth.

Pakistan requires an injection of billions of dollars if it wants to meet its external liabilities and avoid repeatedly turning to international financial institutions for bailouts.

The SIFC was established to tackle the country’s economic challenges through foreign investment. Pakistan aims to attract $70 billion in investment from Gulf countries over the next 3 to 5 years.

Observers, however, remain skeptical, stating that much depends on political stability and the tangible projects offered to investors.

One factor that may potentially undermine Pakistan’s plans is the growing uncertainty in the region. The recent Iranian retaliatory strikes on Israel could alter the dynamics.

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