Zardari to visit Saudi Arabia to bolster rattling economy

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Islamabad, Oct 31 (UNI) Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will pay a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia from November 4 to solicit Riyadh's support in resolving Pakistan's balance of payment crisis.

''During his stay in Saudi Arabia, the President will hold talks with the Custodian of the two Holy Mosaues, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The two leaders will exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues,'' Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said at his weekly news briefing in here today.

''Increase in the volume of bilateral trade and investment, export of manpower to Saudi Arabia and exploration of further aveues of cooperation will be on the agenda of the meeting between the two leaders,'' he said.

The President would solicit Saudi support for the ''Friends of Democratic Pakistan'' initiative and the oil facility requested by Pakistan earlier. Pakistan urgently needs 4.5 billion dollars in aid to tackle the financial crisis and stabilise the crumbling economy.

The Foreign Office spokesman said, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy a special relationship, which is rooted in common faith, mutual trust, understanding and an abiding interest in each others' security, stability and well being of the people.

''The multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries is firmly based in institutional linkages and strong trade and commercial ties,'' he said and added Saudi companies have made significant investments in Pakistan in diverse fields.

''Our bilateral trade stands at around 5.7 billion dollars.

Over a million strong Pakistani community is living in Saudi Arabia and is contributing towards the progress and development of the Kingdom,'' Mr Sadiq said.

UNI XC ARB BST1818

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