PM Shehbaz lands in Saudi Arabia to attend WEF special meeting

Published April 27, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif lands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. — APP
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif lands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. — APP

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif landed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to attend the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) special meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy being held on April 28-29.

PM Shehbaz and his delegation were received by Riyadh deputy governor Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Bin Abdul Aziz, Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and embassy staff at the Riyadh Royal airport.

The premier was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb.

This is the prime minister’s second trip to Saudi Arabia in less than a month. He last went on a three-day visit to the kingdom, which was his first foreign visit since he was re-elected as premier.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the invitation was extended by Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and WEF Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwab.

PM Shehbaz and the ministers will participate in WEF discussions on issues related to trade and investment measures, new investment frameworks, restructuring of supply chains, sustainable growth, and the energy landscape, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement today.

The FO said the high-level participation in the forum was an important opportunity for Pakistan to present its priorities “specifically in global health architecture, inclusive growth, revitalising regional collaboration and the need for striking a balance between promoting growth and energy consumption”.

The premier and his delegation will also hold bilateral meetings with world leaders, including the Saudi leadership, heads of international organisations, and other prominent figures participating in the event;

Yesterday, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said PM Shehbaz would express Pakistan’s grave concern on genocide in Gaza, advocate for their right to self-determination, the imperative of solidarity, besides deliberating on Islamophobia, terrorism, and the challenges faced by the world, particularly the Muslim world. She added that the prime minister would also hold bilateral meetings with the Muslim world leaders.

A Gaza-focused session in Riyadh on Monday is also set to feature newly appointed Palestinian PM Mohammed Mustafa, Egyptian PM Mostafa Madbouly and Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations aid coordinator for the Gaza Strip, the statement added.

Besides the Turkish, Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock are among the foreign diplomats travelling to Riyadh during the summit for talks on Gaza.

The prime minister will also attend the 15th session of the Islamic Summit Conference under the slogan Enhancing Unity and Solidarity through Dialogue for Sustainable Development on May 4 and 5 in Gambia, after FM Dar’s participation in the preparatory meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on May 2-3.

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