UAE Crown Prince departs after one-day visit

Islamabad: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces Sheikh Muhamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Sunday departed after completing his one-day visit. Minister for Power Omer Ayub Khan and senior government officers saw off the Crown Prince and his delegation at the Airbase. Before departure, the crown prince was presented a photo album carrying photos depicting his engagements during the visit. During his visit, the crown prince met Prime Minister Imran Khan and held delegation level talks wherein the two sides discussed the strengthening of bilateral ties and cooperation. Prime Minister Imran Khan led the Pakistani delegation while the UAE side was led by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Pakistan delegation included Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umer, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi and Foreign Secretary Tehmeena Janjua. The two sides discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual, regional and international interests. Before the delegation level talks, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan also held one on one meeting. Later on, an official welcome ceremony was held at Prime Minister House Islamabad in the honor of the Crown Prince. Earlier on arrival, he was met at the airport by Prime Minister Imran Khan. According to the Foreign Office, the prince engaged in delegation level talks and met the chief of army staff. The Prime Minister drove the crown prince from the airport to PM House himself. He was greeted by a huge delegation and a 21-gun salute. He also met the federal cabinet at PM House before he was presented with a guard of honour and a fly-past during the welcome ceremony. This is the third interaction between the leadership of the UAE and Pakistan in three months but the first visit by Sheikh Mohammed to the country in 12 years. His last visit was in 2007. The UAE announced on December 21 a $3 billion bailout package for Pakistan to overcome its balance of payment issue under its Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The fund has financed eight development projects in Pakistan with a total value of AED 1.5 billion, including AED 931 million in grants. The funds covered projects in sectors such as energy, health, education and roads. The UAE is the country’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. There are 1.6 million expatriate Pakistanis living in the country, who send home an estimated $4.5 billion every year. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain has said that visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan will further strengthen relations between the two countries. In a statement, he said the crown prince considers Pakistan as his second home. The Information Minister said talks about the establishment of oil refinery has been entered in the final stage.