Pak PM thanks UAE for flood aid

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Shahbaz Sharif and Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi hold talks in Islamabad on Friday.

Gulf today, Staff reporter / Reuters

UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi called Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance Pakistan attaches to its brotherly relations with the UAE and extended his best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of the UAE.

The Prime Minister highlighted the vast devastation caused by the recent floods across Pakistan and the government’s response to deal with the dire situation.

In this regard, the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for the humanitarian assistance provided by the United Arab Emirates to those affected by the floods and for the establishment of an air corridor to provide humanitarian assistance.

The Prime Minister added that Pakistan is committed to further deepen its relations with the UAE in all areas of common interest.

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have enjoyed close brotherly ties for five decades, firmly rooted in a common belief and shared values ​​and culture.

The United Arab Emirates is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investment.

Meanwhile, Washington has canceled an agreement to suspend service payments on Pakistan’s $132 million in debt, the US embassy in Islamabad said, after devastating floods exacerbated the southeastern nation’s economic crisis. Asian.

Severe flooding engulfed large swaths of the country in late August, killing more than 1,500 people and causing damage estimated at $30 billion. The devastation has stoked fears that Pakistan is not meeting its debt obligations.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome has signed the loan relief extension agreement under the G20 debt service suspension initiative, the embassy said in a statement, adding “Our priority is to redirect essential resources to Pakistan”.

The postponement is linked to the Paris Club agreement in April 2020 to support 73 low-income countries during COVID-19, under which the United States provided $128 million in debt relief to Pakistan.

The agreement to suspend payments on this debt, plus an additional $4 million, has now been renewed.

Islamabad has also sought to transfer $2 billion in Chinese deposits to its reserves, a statement from Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s office said after meeting Chinese envoy Nong Rong.

He said Dar had sought the ambassador’s support to facilitate the rollover of the $2 billion SAFE China deposits due in March 2023.

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