Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday announced that at least eight memoranda of understanding will be signed between Islamabad and Riyadh during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s two-day visit to Pakistan.
Addressing a news conference here, Qureshi said the Saudi royal did not wish to visit Pakistan just to hold discussions; so “homework” was done, and a Saudi team visited Pakistan in the last few days to assess the investment potential in various sectors of the country on the directives of the crown prince, he added.
He said after holding talks with Pakistani government officials, the Saudi “advance team” reported back to authorities in their country and based on those discussions, the government expects to sign “at least 8 MoUs” with Saudi Arabia — the details of which will be revealed later.
The minister revealed that the “high-powered” delegation that will accompany Prince Mohammed will probably be the “biggest in the history” of the two countries’ relations. It will include the prince’s associates, ministers, advisers and CEOs of the large Saudi companies, he said.
He said it has been decided to devise a mechanism to implement the bilateral agreements to be signed during the visit. In this regard, a coordination council is being set up that will be jointly headed by the crown prince (representing Saudi Arabia) and Prime Minister Imran Khan (representing Pakistan).
All relevant ministries will have representation in the coordination council and they will follow up on the MoUs to ensure their practical implementation, the foreign minister revealed.
“I am immensely glad that you are seeing a qualitative change in our relationship [with Saudi Arabia] and will do in the future,” he told reporters.
Qureshi said the government was grateful to Saudi Arabia for “fully supporting and helping Pakistan in this difficult time”, and cited the multi-billion dollar balance-of-payments support and deferred payment facility for oil supplies provided by the Kingdom in this regard.
During the news conference, Qureshi announced that he will embark on a “very important” visit to Germany on Thursday where he will hold a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and the two will also co-chair a panel to present their respective countries’ perspective on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and the region.
Qureshi said he will also meet the Russian foreign minister, as part of Pakistan’s policy to “keep regional stakeholders in the loop” and generate “regional ownership of the entire [Afghan] peace and reconciliation process”.
Among other scheduled discussions will be Qureshi’s meetings with the German, Uzbek and Canadian foreign ministers, and with a “very important” delegation comprising nine key members of the United States Senate and 10 members of the US House of Representatives. The minister said his efforts to “reset” Pakistan’s relationship with the US now seem to be progressing forward and the “unease” in the ties has now ended.