Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to sign $20 billion deals during crown princes visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said the murder was carried out by Saudi officials

The minister said the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman holds an enormous importance.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 29, 2018.

The US government will continue probing the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, following criticism of the White House's handling of the investigation into the murder.

During visit of the Saudi Crown Prince, both sides are ready to sign four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth $15 billion.

Pakistan is likely to sign a number of investment deals, including the construction of multi-billion-dollar oil refinery in the port city of Gwadar, during Crown Prince Salman's visit.

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On October 10, 2018, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators triggered the terms of the Global Magnitsky Act, requiring the president to investigate and determine if a foreign person is responsible for Khashoggi's death within 120 days. "It was committed by officials of the Saudi government acting outside their scope of authority".

In recent years, there has been significant progress in bilateral cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade and investment, infrastructure, defence and security, it said.

But Saudi Arabia has a long history of detaining and murdering dissidents.

Conducting an investigation in Turkey last week, Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur for extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, acknowledged in a report that "Turkey's efforts to apply prompt, effective and thorough, independent and impartial, and transparent investigations - in line with worldwide law - have been seriously curtailed and undermined by Saudi Arabia". He said the cost of the oil refinery will be in the range of USD 5 billion to USD 6 billion but if the Saudis decide to build a petrochemical complex the cost would increase close to USD 10 billion.

Mohammed bin Salman will arrive in Pakistan on February 16 for a two-day visit. He said 40 major businessmen from the private sector are coming to Pakistan along with the top Saudi dignitaries. "The president has been very clear - couldn't be more clear - as we get additional information, we will continue to hold all of those responsible accountable", Pompeo said. Pompeo had briefed lawmakers about the investigation but the secretary of state did not disclose any further details.

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