Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday left for a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia to attend a key investment summit and hold bilateral talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi Future Investment Initiative Summit, often referred to as Davos in the Desert' aims to lure in investors to the desert kingdom. The summit has been an annual feature since 2017.
Confirming his attendance at the summit, the PM tweeted: The present state of the global economy needs new thinking and bold vision to overcome the irritants and forge new paths.
There are serious concerns about the threat of global recession hitting the economies. The pandemic and climate-induced disasters have already put immense strains on developing countries. High time the world explored solutions to the deepening challenges through candid dialogue, Sharif said in the tweet.
Sharif during his travel to Saudi is being accompanied by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other officials and would try to convince the Saudi authorities to invest in Pakistan, the foreign office said in a statement.
Foreign Office said that Prime Minister Shehbaz was paying an official visit to Riyadh on the invitation of Prince Mohammad.
He would hold consultations with the Saudi Crown Prince to review the longstanding fraternal relations, with a view to further strengthening the multifaceted cooperation, especially in the economic field, the statement said.
The prime minister would be one of the key speakers at the conference and use it to highlight investment opportunities in Pakistan.
Sharif's visit comes amidst Pakistan's success in persuading Saudi to revive a USD 12 billion state-of-the-art deep conversion refinery and a petrochemical complex in the country, a project that was shelved by the oil-rich Gulf Kingdom during the Imran Khan regime.
In 2019, Crown Prince Mohammed visited Pakistan when Khan was the prime minister, and signed MoUs for an investment of USD 21 billion, including the project of a deep conversion refinery and petrochemical complex with an investment of USD 12 billion.
Subsequently, when Khan tried to cobble up a bloc of Islamic countries with the consent of Turkey and Malaysia, outside the ambit of the Saudi-dominated Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), it irked the Gulf Kingdom.
Riyadh is particularly sensitive about any move that might undermine its leadership of the 57-member pan-Islamic body.
Bilateral ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have remained strained since then. The Shehbaz Sharif government is now trying to reset ties with Riyadh by reaching out to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.
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