Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman on Saturday telephoned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and invited him to visit Riyadh at the earliest.
Shehbaz was already planning to undertake a maiden foreign trip to Saudi Arabia since taking charge as the country’s prime minister amid political and economic crises.
The Saudi de facto ruler was the first foreign leader to telephone the prime minister underlining the close relationship between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia has remained Pakistan’s key economic lifeline as it doled out many bailout packages to help Islamabad deal with the depleting reserves. It is not clear if the new premier would also seek a financial bailout package during his visit as one of the senior PML-N leaders told The Express Tribune the main purpose of the visit is to repair damage done to the ties with Saudi Arabia during the last government.
A statement issued by the PM office said the Saudi Crown Prince congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the Prime Minister of Pakistan
“The Prime Minister thanked the Crown Prince for the felicitations and expressed his resolve to work closely with the Kingdom to enhance and further strengthen bilateral relations between their two countries,” the statement added.
Also read: Pak-Saudi relations marked by exceptional trust: PM Shehbaz
During the course of their “most warm and friendly conversation,” the prime minister paid rich tributes to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for achieving remarkable progress and development of the Kingdom, under their visionary leadership.
While recalling the fraternal and historic bonds between their two countries that has been the hallmark of their strategic relationship over the past seven decades, the prime minister reaffirmed his government’s and his own commitment to further advance these relations to new heights.
Prime Minister Shehbaz thanked Saudi Arabia for its historic and continued support and cooperation, both bilaterally as well as at international forums, while also assuring the Crown Prince that Pakistan would stand by the Kingdom at all times.
The prime minister and the Crown Prince agreed to work together to further augment and diversify their bilateral ties in all spheres, in particular trade, investment and employment generation opportunities.
The Saudi Crown Prince extended his cordial invitation to PM Shehbaz to pay an official visit to the Kingdom, at an early date. Thanking the Crown Prince for his gracious invitation, the prime minister also extended an invitation to the Crown Prince to undertake a state visit to Pakistan.