Saudi Arabia's crown prince has pledged $20 billion worth of investments in Pakistan to shore up the country's struggling economy while strengthening bilateral ties at a time when Islamabad is trying to revive its global standing. The pledges made Sunday evening -- about double what had been expected -- would also help Saudi Arabia's economy by setting up infrastructure, including an oil refinery, to secure Pakistan as a market for Saudi crude oil. The promised investments are nonbinding, however, and whether they will materialize remains to be seen. Riyadh has a long history of over-promising to please allies. Kicking off a tour of Asia with a visit to Pakistan this week, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, held separate meetings with Pakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan, and the country's army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, endorsing the country's two levers of power.
Tunisian politicians and civil society groups have expressed their rejection of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's upcoming visit to Tunisia. The visit is part of Prince Mohammed's first tour abroad since the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, which has widely been blamed on the crown prince. Saida Qarash, a spokesperson of the Tunisian government, confirmed the visit of Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, on November 27 via a local radio station. The crown prince arrived in Abu Dhabi late on Thursday and is due to visit other countries in the region, including Bahrain and Egypt, where he will be warmly received by allied leaders who have stood firmly by his side amid international outrage over the murder of Khashoggi. MBS will also attend the G20 Summit in Argentina at the end of this month, where he will likely come face-to-face with world leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has implicitly accused the crown prince of being behind the killing.
ISLAMABAD – Pakistani officials say the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been delayed by a day. Without giving any explanation for the delay, the Foreign Ministry says Prince Mohammad will now arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit on Sunday and that his program remains unchanged. The crown prince is expected to sign investment agreements worth billions of dollars. He will also travel to neighboring India amid heightened tension between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week's attack on a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed Pakistan for Thursday's bombing.
Saudi Arabia's king has appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince - replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as first in line to the throne. King Salman's decree also means Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, will become deputy prime minister while continuing as defence minister. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, has also been removed from his role as head of domestic security, state media say. He has pledged allegiance to the new crown prince, news agency SPA reports. King Salman, 81, acceded to the throne in January 2015 after the death of his half-brother Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
BEIJING – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has met with a Chinese vice premier in a bid to strengthen relations in the face of criticism from the West over the kingdom's human rights record and its war in Yemen. Prince Mohammed held bilateral talks Friday with Han Zheng at the Great Hall of the People before presiding at a China-Saudi cooperation forum and accompanying signing ceremony. The prince meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping later Friday, highlighting Saudi Arabia's importance as one of China's top oil suppliers and a market for its exports, including military drones. The crown prince's trip comes five months after he came under intense pressure in the U.S. and elsewhere following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.