Mohammed Bin Salman has no intention of buying Manchester United

Share

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has signed agreements worth $20 billion with Pakistan at the start of an Asian tour widely seen as an attempt to bolster ties and improve the kingdom's image after a troubling year.

Crown prince Mohammed will later travel to neighbouring India amid heightened tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week's suicide vehicle bombing in India-administered Kashmir that killed more than 40 paramilitary troops. "For the lack of a better word, Saudi Arabia is a cesspool of constant rivalry among the princes".

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are "completely false", the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

After Pakistan, the crown prince will travel to India, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

But that was unlikely after the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group's planned meetings with Khan and USA officials in Islamabad were called off.

Pakistan has rejected the allegations.

The total investment opportunities resulted in over 20 billion dollars, which would increase the mutual investment and volume of trade between the two brotherly countries.

Pakistan is facing a serious balance of payments crisis and hopes the deals - seven separate agreements and Memorandums of Understanding - will provide welcome relief to its teetering economy.

Pakistan laid on a lavish welcome for the crown prince, including a 21-gun salute, fighter jet escort and honour guard.

More news: Cardi B Makes History at Grammys
More news: Man Dead After E-Cigarette Explodes In His Face
More news: Trump to announce date, venue of 2nd summit with Kim next week

He had also planned to visit Indonesia and Malaysia during the tour, but those trips have been postponed, according to Malaysian and Indonesian officials.

The paper said a bid was first submitted in October but the fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's embassy in Istanbul put the "skids" on a potential offer.

He is expected to finish the trip with a visit to China on Thursday and Friday. Many in the West blamed Prince Mohammed for the killing, which triggered the kingdom's biggest political crisis for a generation.

Analysts have said the tour is part of a Gulf pivot to rising Asia as a growing oil market, but also a timely demonstration to the West that MBS is not an global pariah.

This week also saw an attack in Iran that killed 27 Revolutionary Guard soldiers that was claimed by the Pakistan-based militant Jaish al-Adl group. India has vowed to isolate Pakistan internationally, including seeking Pakistan's blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors financing of terrorism.

Motorcyclists pass by a banner welcoming Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman displayed on the occasion of his visit, in Lahore on February 16.

"The future is exciting for both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia after joining hands", he said.

In an interview with an Arab TV aired before the Saudi visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan was quoted as saying that he shares the vision of the Saudi Crown Prince.

Fresh talks are set to be held between the USA and the militants in Doha on February 25.

Share