Grand reception awaits Saudi crown prince in Pakistan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistani PM Imran Khan will discuss ways to ensure quick progress on tangible areas of cooperation. (SPA/File)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Grand reception awaits Saudi crown prince in Pakistan

  • The crown prince is due to arrive in Islamabad on Saturday

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be the first state guest to stay at the official residence of the prime minister of Pakistan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Arab News on Wednesday.

The crown prince is due to arrive in Islamabad for a two-day visit on the afternoon of Feb. 16. He is expected to sign agreements worth up to $15 billion, including for three power plants in Pakistan’s Punjab province and an oil refinery and petrochemical complex to be set up in the coastal city of Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan.

Chaudhry said the crown prince would arrive in Islamabad on Saturday and stay overnight at Prime Minister House.

Outlining the prince’s agenda, the information minister said he would attend a reception at the presidential palace on Saturday evening.

“A reception will be hosted in his honor at the president’s house and will be attended by the (Pakistani) prime minister, army chief, all top ministers, bureaucrats and important personalities in the country as well as members of the royal entourage,” Chaudhry said.

On Sunday, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the crown prince will co-chair meetings of joint working groups including on trade and investment, energy, science, culture and information and media.

The Foreign Ministry said the crown prince would call on the president of Pakistan, the prime minister and the army chief separately.

The statement added that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would sign agreements during the crown prince’s visit, including in the fields of investment, finance, power, internal security, media and culture.

“The two countries will also discuss ways and means to develop a robust follow-up mechanism to ensure effective implementation and quick progress on tangible areas of cooperation,” the statement said.

The crown prince will leave Pakistan on Feb. 17 and head to India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Responding to a question about reports that the crown prince would address a joint session of Parliament, Chaudhry said: “That is highly unlikely.”

Giving details of security arrangements for the visit, the information minister said the crown prince’s own security team would guard Prime Minister House during his stay there, but that Pakistani security officials would also be on duty.

Chaudhry said Islamabad would be on high security throughout the crown prince’s visit, and the Pakistan army and paramilitary Rangers would be in charge of keeping the capital safe. 

Saudi security and intelligence officials are also expected to be present not just at Prime Minister House, but across Islamabad during the two days the crown prince is there.

As of Monday night, 350 people in the crown prince’s advance media and security team had already arrived in Islamabad and another 800 were expected in the next few days, Chaudhry said. 

Vehicles to be used by the crown prince would arrive via a special flight on Friday, while the cars and security equipment of his entourage would also be shipped in. At least 80 containers of luggage and other paraphernalia are expected to arrive in Islamabad to cater to the needs of the royal entourage.

Saudi ministers accompanying the crown prince are also expected to hold meetings with their counterparts “to discuss bilateral cooperation in their respective fields,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Wednesday, adding that businessmen from the two countries would also meet to discuss opportunities for collaboration in the private sector.

“A delegation of Pakistan’s Senate will also call on the crown prince to discuss ways to enhance parliamentary cooperation between the two countries,” the statement said.


High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019
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High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.