Pakistan premier says UAE extends $2B loan, offers $1B more

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In this photo released by Press Information Department, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif speaks during press conference, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Sharif thanked the international institutions for pledging $9.7 billion at a recently held aid conference in Geneva to help Pakistan launch the much-awaited reconstruction in those areas affected by last summer’s catastrophic flood that killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million. (Pakistan Press Information Dept. via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister said Thursday that the United Arab Emirates agreed to extend a $2 billion loan to his country and provide an additional $1 billion as his nation struggles to recover from devastating floods this summer.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s office made the announcement after he met with the leader of the UAE, Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It said Sheikh Mohammed agreed to the loan extension and the new loan.

“Both sides agreed to deepen the investment cooperation, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities between the two countries,” Sharif’s office said.

The Emirates did not immediately acknowledge the rollover of the loan and the granting of the additional billion. It said the meeting at Abu Dhabi’s Al Shati Palace saw the two leaders discuss “the historical relations between the UAE and Pakistan and ways to enhance joint cooperation and expand its horizons in a way that serves the mutual interests of the two countries.”

Sharif’s visit to the UAE marks his third since becoming premier last April. The seven sheikhdoms of the Emirates are home to some 1.7 million Pakistanis, many manual laborers that power its economy and send money back to their nation.

Sheikh Mohammed also was invited to visit Pakistan. He became the leader of the Emirates, an autocratic federation of seven sheikhdoms, after the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in May.

Sharif also planned to meet with Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on the two-day trip.

On Wednesday, Sharif said several countries and some of the world’s institutions have pledged $9.7 billion to help Pakistan rebuild from the summer’s catastrophic flood that killed 1,739 people. The floods destroyed more than 2 million homes and caused more than $30 billion in damage.

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Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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