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Saudi King reaches Pakistan on two-day visit

King Abdullah will discuss economic cooperation and security with Pakistan during the first visit by a Saudi monarch in 30 years.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 13:38 IST

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was to arrive in Pakistan on Wednesday to discuss economic cooperation and security during the first visit by a Saudi monarch in 30 years, the foreign ministry said.

Abdullah was to meet with President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday and attend an official dinner in the capital, Islamabad, where security has been stepped up, ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

Abdullah will hold "in-depth talks with the president, covering a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of interest and concern to the two countries," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The visit of the Saudi monarch is taking place at a critical time in the region. The president's talks with the royal visitor on the evolving security situation in the region will thus be of particular importance," it said.

Abdullah is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Thursday.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia—both US allies in the war against terrorism—have close relations and their leaders hold regular consultations.

Abdullah has visited Pakistan before, including a tour in October 2003 as the Saudi crown prince, but the last visit by any Saudi king was in 1976.

Saudi Arabia is Pakistan's largest oil supplier and trade between the two countries in 2004-2005 was worth $2.8 billion, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Saudi Arabia has pledged $573 million in assistance for Pakistan to rebuild areas that were hit by an October 8 earthquake in which about 87,000 people died and thousands were injured.

The quake left more than three million people homeless in Pakistan's northwest and its portion of Kashmir.

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 11:45 IST