Imran Khan, Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss bilateral ties

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Imran Khan Sheikh Mohamed

Web Report

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, accompanied by a high-level delegation, left Islamabad on Thursday following a daylong visit in which he had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The crown prince was seen off at the Nur Khan Airbase by Federal Minister for Power, Petroleum & Natural Resources Omar Ayub, according to media reports.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan had received the crown prince at the Nur Khan Airbase alongside various government officials, including Omar Ayub.

Setting aside protocol, Prime Minister Imran personally drove the crown prince, who on Tuesday was announced by Russia Today TV as the Arab world’s most influential leader of 2019, from the airbase. This, however, is not the first time the premier has gotten behind the wheel for a foreign dignitary.

The crown prince held a one-on-one meeting with PM Imran followed by a luncheon hosted by the premier.

In a tweet via his official account, Sheikh Mohamed said he met his “friend Prime Minister Imran Khan” and discussed “regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as ways to enhance bilateral ties”.

UAE’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Alzaabi, while announcing the Islamabad leg of the crown prince’s trip, had said it would be a daylong official visit for “strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two brotherly countries”.

The Emirati ruler last visited Pakistan on January 6, 2019, just weeks after his country offered $3 billion to support Pakistan’s battered economy.

His visit today came on the heels of Pakistan pulling out of the Kuala Lumpur summit in Malaysia apparently over reservations by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, following the summit, had said that it was not the first time that Saudi Arabia and the UAE had put pressure on a country for doing or not doing certain things.

The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments. The UAE is also among Pakistan’s prime development partners in education, health and energy sectors. It hosts more than 1.6 million expatriate Pakistanis, who contribute remittances of around $4.5 billion annually to the GDP. Their trade volume in 2018 amounted to Dh11.8 billion.

Relations between the UAE and Pakistan have gone from strength to strength over the past few years. High-level visits between the leaders of Pakistan and the UAE signify the importance the two countries attach to their fraternal ties, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.