ISLAMABAD–A high-level Pakistani delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday to hold talks over the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
Senior officials from the foreign office (FO) and three armed forces personnel were also part of the delegation that departed Islamabad for Riyadh through a special aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif sought guidance from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before departure to the Saudi capital and held a brief meeting with members of his delegation at Chaklala Airbase.
“Yes, the delegation headed by the defence minister is scheduled to depart for Saudi Arabia,” FO spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told media.
The Pakistani delegation will meet Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and the Saudi Defence Minister in Riyadh besides meeting other high-ranking Saudi officials for discussion over the crisis in Yemen.
The delegation is also expected to meet the leadership of Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss the possibility of enabling a truce in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia and its allies last week launched air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters, who have tightened their grip in the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge.
Pakistan is a regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the main Sunni Muslim power in the Gulf, but has yet to commit itself publicly to military support to Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen.
A security official had earlier told Reuters that there would be no decision on joining the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen before the delegation’s visit to Riyadh.
“Pakistan will extend all support to Saudi Arabia if the country’s security is threatened,” Asif earlier told a seminar in Lahore.
Moreover, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a telephone call with Saudi King Salman on Saturday, offered “all potentials of the Pakistan army”, media quoted the Saudi Press Agency as saying.
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