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Pakistan Chief Visits Saudi Arabia

October 25, 1999

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Pakistan’s military leader traveled to Saudi Arabia today on his first trip abroad since he seized power less than two weeks ago.

Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf landed at an air base near the capital Riyadh and was met by provincial Gov. Prince Salman. He is expected to hold talks with Saudi King Fahd and other senior officials during a two-day visit to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to recognize Musharraf after his forces overthrew the elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Oct. 12.

Musharraf has said he wants to rid Pakistani politics of corruption before returning the country of 140 million people to democracy. He has not given a time frame for new elections, an omission that drew international criticism.

Musharraf is scheduled to perform the Umra, a pilgrimage to Islam’s holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

He is due to leave the kingdom late Tuesday for United Arab Emirates, where is to hold talks with that country’s president.

Musharraf’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, traditional allies of Pakistan, is seen as an attempt to break his government’s isolation and seek financial support for Pakistan’s battered economy.

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