Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to discuss 'augmenting' kingdom's $3bn deposit: joint statement

Published May 1, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are pictured after the former lands in the Kingdom on a three-day visit to the KSA on April 28. — Photo via APP
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are pictured after the former lands in the Kingdom on a three-day visit to the KSA on April 28. — Photo via APP

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will discuss the possibility of "augmenting" the kingdom's $3 billion deposit in Pakistan's central bank by extending its term “or through other options,” a joint statement said on Sunday.

Last year, Saudi Arabia deposited $3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan to help support its foreign reserves. With a yawning current account deficit and foreign reserves falling to as low as $10.8 billion, the country is in dire need of external finances.

Pakistan also welcomed a Saudi decision to extend an agreement to finance exports of crude oil products and oil derivatives, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

The statement came after a visit by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In the statement carried by Pakistan state news agency APP, the Kingdom affirmed its continuous support to Pakistan and its economy "including the discussion of augmenting the $3 billion deposit with the central bank through term extension or otherwise, and exploring options to further enhance the financing of petroleum products and supporting the economic structural reforms for the benefit of Pakistan and its people".

“Pakistan greatly appreciates the continued strong support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan,” the statement said.

The joint statement also said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia affirmed their stance to consolidate security and stability, renounce extremism, terrorism and support the unity and independence of the countries of the region and their territorial integrity.

The two sides also agreed to give priority to political solutions that bring prosperity and progress to the region and its people.

During the PM's visit, the two sides exchanged views on issues of mutual concern at the regional and international levels, and agreed on the importance to continue coordinating their positions in a way that serves their interests,

The two sides agreed to continue exchanging support and coordination in international organisations and forums and stressed the importance of all countries’ commitment to the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law, adherence to the principles of good neighbourliness, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in internal affairs, and striving to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomed the statements of Pakistan mentioning its keenness to find a solution to all disputes with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Read more: PM Shehbaz writes letter to Modi, says peaceful Pak-India ties imperative for progress of region

The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India in order to resolve the issues between the two countries, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region.

During an official meeting between the prime minister and the Saudi crown prince, they reviewed the historical relations between the two countries and the close cooperation in various fields, as well as discussed ways to strengthen relations in all areas, the statement said.

In the bilateral context, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening work through the Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council, diversifying trade exchange between the two brotherly countries and intensifying communication between the private sector in the two countries in order to discuss trade and investment opportunities and turn them into tangible partnerships.

The two sides also agreed to deepen the investment cooperation between the two countries, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities between the private sector of the two countries.

They also agreed to join efforts to develop the investment environment in the two countries and support a number of investment sectors of common interest.

Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz said the joint statement "ushers in a new era of close cooperation and engagement on bilateral, regional and global issues between our two brotherly countries".

"Pakistan deeply values the kingdom's continued support to Pakistan," he said.

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