Gilani Meets King Abdullah

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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, traveling to Mecca for Ramadan, held extensive talks with Saudi King Abdullah, sources told Dawn newspaper.

The two talked about enhancing trade and economic ties between and agreed to stand by each other in times of need, the report said.

Although Gilani’s Saudi visit was basically to perform Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan, Pakistan said the Saudi leadership, in a special gesture, invited the prime minister to make it a working visit.

Sources told the newspaper Gilani explained to the Saudi king his country’s difficulties and the tough economic conditions resulting from the war on terror.

The report said the Pakistani side expressed interest in selling heavy defense equipment, including tanks and armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, which reportedly has been evaluating making such purchases.

The report said Saudi Arabia also indicated it would consider Gilani’s request for a deferred oil payment facility.

Prior to meeting the Saudi king, Gilani addressed the Pakistan Investment Forum in Jeddah, telling the business community the economy is headed for recovery.

He said Pakistan, however, faces numerous challenges including the fight against terrorism, high prices for petroleum products, and damages of as much as $10 billion caused by the floods last year.

Gilani said the country’s nuclear program is safe and secure and there is no cause for worry, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

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