ISLAMABAD–A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is underway at the PM House to discuss the latest developments pertaining to the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Adviser to the PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs Mr Tariq Fatemi, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee General Rashid Mehmood, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and the three service chiefs of Army, Air-force and Naval Staff are participating in the meeting.
The huddle comes shortly after a government delegation led by Shahbaz returned to Islamabad after meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal in Jeddah.
The participants of the delegation are expected to brief the PM on their recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
The government delegation arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday to meet Saudi leadership and give assurance that Pakistan is supporting Saudi Arabia in the ongoing Yemen crisis.
According to diplomatic sources, issues relating to bilateral interests including the ongoing crisis in Yemen also came under discussion.
Saudi Arabia and its allies last month 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.
The Sharif brothers have enjoyed close ties with the Saudi royal family, and spent their years of exile from Pakistan after 1999 in Jeddah. The premier’s brother Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, who is not part of the federal government, had led the delegation to Jeddah.
Amidst unsubstantiated rumours that Pakistan will commit troops to Saudi Arabia for the protection of its borders, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in an address earlier this week urged a peaceful solution to the Yemen crisis through dialogue with warring factions and reiterated the importance of the Saudi Kingdom as a ‘strategic ally’.
Nawaz in his speech upheld Parliament’s recent resolution to stay ‘neutral’ in the Yemen conflict, and repeated the words of the resolution regarding the importance of Saudi Arabia as an ally. “We stand with them shoulder to shoulder,” he said.
“We are also in touch with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to assure that their disappointment was based on an apparent misinterpretation of the Parliament’s resolution,” Nawaz had said. “Pakistan does not abandon friends and strategic partners, specially at a time when their security is under threat”.
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