Muscat: Pakistan is exploring the possibility of a long-term contract with the government of Oman to boost its oil imports, said Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, while talking to the Times of Oman yesterday.
“Such a contract will not only enhance bilateral trade, which stands at just $400 million at the moment, but will also increase employment opportunities for Pakistanis in Oman,” he added.
“We have been buying our diesel from Kuwait for nearly 25 years now and are keen to explore such a possibility for other oil requirements at government to government level in our interaction with Oman,” said Aziz, seen as the de facto foreign minister of his country.
Oman stands to benefit from Pakistan’s strategic new developments, particularly those related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will trigger a wave of new economic activity in the region.
When asked if he found the Omani authorities interested in a long-term agreement, he said, “In principle, yes, there is interest but the companies have to negotiate it at their level. However, having government to government long-term contracts is much more economical as transport is pre-booked, schedule is known and you don’t have to keep too much stock. Oman and Pakistan are very close to each other and this proximity means the cost of transportation will be much cheaper.”
“Gwadar deep sea port is going to be the main centre of economic activity, specially related to China’s oil and gas trade requirements. Oman’s strategic location is a huge advantage and the new refineries it is setting up will certainly facilitate this trade,” added the Pakistani dignitary.
“We are currently looking at an MoU which can eventually lead to a long-term contract covering many products and is much more detailed. So we are hopeful that we will have some kind of an understanding soon,” he added.
Explaining the process which will lead to some concrete development, Aziz said, “The willingness of the government comes first, then it authorises its companies which deal with the necessary details, we authorise our companies and then they negotiate.”
He was quite confident that his visit would lead to increased cooperation in political, economic, defence, security and trade sectors.
Praising the Pakistani community for playing a constructive role in Oman’s overall development as a modern state under the exemplary rule of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Aziz urged the over 250,000-storng community to work harder to contribute more towards strengthening ties between the two brotherly
Pakistan Embassy complex
A well-attended stone-laying ceremony yesterday marked the beginning of the construction process of $5 million Pakistan Embassy complex, a dream the large Pakistani community in Oman has been hoping to realise for a decade.
Sartaj Aziz laid the first brick at its plot in the Diplomatic Enclave to initiate the process of construction which is due to start soon. All the necessary approvals were granted by the government of Oman before Aziz’s arrival.
Nestled between the Embassies of USA and Jordan, the sprawling 12,600 square metre plot will house the main Pakistan Embassy building comprising various offices, a meeting facility and a large consular hall to accommodate hundreds of daily visitors to the embassy. The complex will also comprise Pakistan House, the ambassador’s residence as well as a big multi-purpose hall, equipped with quality sound system and conferencing facilities, with a seating capacity of 350 people and a stage. Once the construction starts, the embassy complex would be ready in two years’ time for complete operations.
Joint press conference
Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs and Aziz had a meeting and also addressed a joint conference, Oman News Agency reported.
Hailed the historic political relations binding the Sultanate and Pakistan he affirmed the deep-rooted bilateral friendly relations and hailed the expansion of economic cooperation opportunities between the two countries.
Alawi said that the visit comes within the framework of the strong relations binding the Sultanate and Pakistan. He added that a range of issues on economic and investment relations were discussed. The two sides also discussed some important aspects that bind the two friendly courtiers, such as military training and rehabilitation.
He hoped to widen the efforts made by the two countries and to form committee to benefit from available opportunities in the Sultanate and Pakistan and added that he was looking forward to visit Pakistan in the first quarter next year.
Also, Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi, Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs received the Pakistani guest in his office at Mu’askar Bait Al Falaj.
The two sides reviewed good relations between the two friendly countries and discussed several fields of cooperation and exchanged viewpoints on a range of matters of common concern.
The meeting was attended by the Sultanate’s Ambassador appointed to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Pakistani Ambassador to the Sultanate and the delegation accompanying the guest.