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Imran Khan meets UAE prime minister amid reports of financial assistance package

Updated November 18, 2018

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PM Imran Khan meets UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. — Photo courtesy PTI Twitter
PM Imran Khan meets UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. — Photo courtesy PTI Twitter
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed receives PM Imran Khan at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. ─Photo courtesy Mohamed Bin Zayed Twitter
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed receives PM Imran Khan at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. ─Photo courtesy Mohamed Bin Zayed Twitter

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on an official visit, held a meeting with his counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, read a statement issued by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Imran Khan met the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai for the first time after taking oath as the premier. Matters of bilateral interests, and important international and regional issues came under discussion during the meeting.

The UAE prime minister issued a statement in Urdu through his official Twitter account to welcome Imran Khan to the Gulf state. “We cherish our rich history of bilateral ties [with Pakistan] based on brotherhood and trade,” the UAE premier said.

The prime minister was invited to the UAE by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. He travelled there on Sunday on a one-day visit amid reports that the UAE is ready to extend financial assistance to Pakistan.

PM Khan was received by the crown prince at an official reception at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.

Following the reception, PM Khan and the Pakistani delegation — including Finance Minister Asad Umar, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa — met the Abu Dhabi crown prince and his delegation, and discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Expressing satisfaction at the positive trajectory of relations, the leaders of the two countries agreed to take immediate measures to further elevate their historic partnership. They resolved to strengthen trade and economic ties and eliminate all impediments to a seamless flow of bilateral trade and investment.

According to a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two sides agreed to chalk out a comprehensive roadmap to accelerate cooperation and partnership in areas encompassing trade, investment, economic development, energy, infrastructure and agriculture, with a view to accrue early dividends from the economic partnership.

Acknowledging the contribution of Pakistani professionals as well as skilled and unskilled workers in the development of UAE, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation on all labour related issues.

This is the prime minister's second trip to the UAE in as many months.

During his last visit to Abu Dhabi on Sept 19, the two countries had agreed to strengthen economic, trade and investment relations.

The government had, during a later visit of an Emirati delegation to Islamabad, made a formal request for assistance.

This is the prime minister's second trip to the UAE in two months. —PID
This is the prime minister's second trip to the UAE in two months. —PID

The signals from the UAE were positive and the government was hopeful of getting what officials are calling "a good package".

Some say it would be comparable with the Saudi bailout of $6 billion — $3bn in balance of payments support and a deferred payment facility on oil imports worth $3bn.

The UAE is one of the major oil suppliers to Pakistan.

The government has also been in talks with the Chinese government for an assistance package after PM Khan’s visit to Beijing. However, the outcome of the negotiations are still unknown. It is believed that China has asked for more discussion on the matter.

Meanwhile, the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan facility are concluding next week, with Finance Minister Asad Umar optimistic about reaching a basic agreement with the Fund by November 20.

Umar had, after the trip to China, announced that the impending balance of payments crisis had been averted after Beijing and Riyadh's pledges of help.

Umar has in a TV interview said: "Where we stand today, the current account deficit may total $12-13bn this [fiscal] year."

The premier was received by the crown prince at an official reception at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. —PID
The premier was received by the crown prince at an official reception at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. —PID