Pakistan, Saudi Arabia ink $20B investment deals

Mon 18 Feb 2019 13:17 GMT | 17:17 Local Time

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Saudi Arabia signed several memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Pakistan to invest $20 billion in various sectors, the Kingdom announced on Monday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Addressing a joint news conference alongside his Pakistan's Foreign Mnister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Saudi State Minister for Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the investment will continue in bigger amounts.

"Saudi Arabia will establish an oil refinery at a cost of $10 billion in Gwadar [a southwestern port] and plans to invest in some other areas such as minerals, agriculture, education, and health,” Al-Jubeir told the conference aired on state-run Pakistan television.

Saudi Arabia wants an “economically stable” Pakistan, he added.

Qureshi, for his part, said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia established the Supreme Coordination Council, jointly led by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Saudi crown prince for fast track decisions in key areas of bilateral cooperation.

On his maiden visit to Pakistan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrived the host country on Sunday with a nearly 100-member high profile delegation.

"This is a historical visit for Pakistan and both countries have formed high level working groups and high level bodies for Saudi investment to the regular follow-up of the updates," Qureshi told reporters.

Riyadh has long been an economic and strategic partner of Islamabad, but avoids indulging in the lingering diplomatic row between Pakistan and India because of its huge investments in the two countries.

Last year, state oil company Saudi Aramco signed a $44-billion deal with India to build a mega refinery on India's west coast.

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.

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