Pakistan seeks urgent Saudi funds

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on a two-day visit to seek assistance for Pakistan's cash-strapped economy. Pakistan needs more than $5bn within a month to meet its international obligations.

According to the Pakistani foreign office, Mr Zardari will seek Saudi oil shipments against deferred payments of up to two years to reduce pressure on the country's trade imbalance.

He will also seek Saudi support for the forthcoming meeting of a group of countries called the "Friends of Pakistan" (FOP), the foreign office said. The FOP nations include the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, China, the UAE and several other countries. They are meeting in Abdu Dhabi on 17 November to devise ways of stabilizing Pakistan's economy.

Pakistan has been contemplating a short-term loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but says this would be its last resort, given the IMF's stringent conditions.


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