RIYADH — Peru, the latest country to open an embassy in the Saudi capital, has expressed its keenness to attract investments from the Kingdom to finance its ambitious petrochemical industry, according to a visiting Peruvian official.
Jose Beraun, Peru’s vice minister of foreign affairs, wrapped up a two-day official visit to Riyadh Wednesday after holding talks with senior Saudi officials and businessmen.
“Such investments will help our petrochemical industry to have an influence beyond the borders of Peru benefiting a vast part of South America.
Assessing the potential of attracting investments was one of the purposes of my visit,” Beraun told Saudi Gazette.
“Also, I came to invite the Saudi leadership to the third South American-Arab (ASPA) Summit that will be chaired by my country on Oct. 1-2. The invitation was handed to Khalid Al-Jandan, deputy foreign minister for bilateral relations. I also invited the Saudi business community to the third ASPA CEO summit that will be held parallel to the event in the Peruvian capital Lima,” he added.
ASPA is a forum for policy coordination between 12 South American and 22 Arab countries with the support of the Arab League and the Union of South American Nations.
Beraun pointed out that Peru was no stranger to the Arab world and its culture. “We have an Arab and Muslim community of about 50,000 people.
Though small, the community basically constituting Palestinian immigrants is very significant. Today, this community is playing relevant roles in politics and economy,” Beraun said, pointing out that the president of Peru’s Congress is of Palestinian origin.
He said Peruvian culture had important influences from the Andalusian civilization that came to the country with the Spanish colonizers.
“We consider the Arab world very important. I have decided to begin my regional tour in Saudi Arabia because of its stature in the Middle East and the world at large,” he said.
Shedding light on possible areas of potential cooperation between the two countries, Beraun said: “From our evaluation of international affairs and relations, we have discovered that we share with Saudi Arabia common values of dialogue, understanding and peaceful coexistence.”
He said the economies of Peru and the Kingdom could be complementary to each other, citing his country’s emphasis on agro-industry. “We can offer the Kingdom a variety of agricultural products. We have plenty of natural resources that can be a base for Saudi investments. A cheap and skilled labor force is another asset,” he added.
“Both Peru and the Kingdom have abundant gas reserves and this is another area for potential cooperation. We are keen to benefit from the experience and expertise of Saudis, particularly Saudi Aramco and SABIC,” Beraun said.
“I also wish to offer our friendship to the government and people of the Kingdom for helping us in opening our embassy here,” the vice minister said, adding that it would be a positive step in solidifying the relations if Saudi Arabia decided to open an embassy in Lima.
“We have already attracted considerable Arab investments. Dubai Ports is handling our main port of Lima. We also have a huge investment from the Algerian energy giant Sonatrach,” he said.
Beraun said he was impressed by the warm welcome and hospitality he received on his first ever visit to the Kingdom. “We are looking forward to establish a very fruitful relationship with Eduardo Martinetti, our ambassador in Riyadh, taking the lead. I want to stress that there is commitment on the part of the Peruvian government to develop and promote the most intense relations with Kingdom,” he said.
The Peruvian minister will also visit Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Egypt during his current tour of the region.