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PM Khan meets Abu Dhabi crown prince amid reports of UAE package

Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to discuss matters of bilateral, regional and mutual interest.

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

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

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

PM Khan is also expected to meet with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE.

This is the prime minister’s second trip to the UAE in two months.

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

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

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.”

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