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October 25, 1999
Musharraf to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE
Pakistan's new army ruler, General Pervez Musharraf will start a visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates today on his first foreign trip since seizing power in a bloodless army coup on October 12.
An official announcement said General Musharraf's visit ''reaffirms the importance that Pakistan attaches to the fraternal relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE''.
It said that during his two-day visit, General Musharraf would meet King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah and would then travel to Abu Dhabi to meet UAE ruler Sheikh Zaid Bin Sultan Al-Nahayan.
''High-level contacts between Pakistan and the two brotherly countries are part of the long-standing tradition of close and cooperative relations with them,'' the statement said.
General Musharraf, in a keynote address one week ago, said relations with Islamic countries were central to his vision of a foreign policy and he would endeavour to expand and cement such ties.
Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief was a frequent visitor to both countries, often seeking funds to plug holes in the country's sieve-like national coffers.
After international sanctions were imposed for Pakistan's May 28 nuclear tests last year, Sharief and his aides toured Gulf states looking for loans and support to bolster finances.
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