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Pakistan reiterates support to Saudi Arabia over Yemen

Pakistan reiterates support to Saudi Arabia over Yemen

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has once again assured the Saudi Arabian leadership of support in the prevailing crisis situation in Yemen, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

Sharif, along with his Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif, during their visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday expressed deep concern regarding increasing threats to regional peace and stability in the Middle East and emphasised that there was a dire need to ensure that the region did not get affected by further destabilisation by terrorist groups and other non-state actors, a Pakistani foreign office communique said following the visit.

"Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed that this alarming and unacceptable trend will destabilise the Middle East and encourage militants everywhere to challenge the state authority with violence," it said.

Pakistan made it clear to Saudi Arabia that it was not only the responsibility of the Saudi-led coalition to defeat the trend but of the entire international community as well, the communique said.

Saudi Arabia earlier sought fighter aircraft, warships and ground troops from Pakistan in its fight against the Shia Houthi rebels who had captured large parts of Yemen; however, the country's parliament urged the government to stay neutral.

Besides the army chief, Sharif was accompanied by Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and senior officials in talks with Saudi leaders.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a close ally of Saudi Arabia in the coalition, had condemned what it called a "vague" policy of Pakistan and warned that Islamabad would have to "pay a high price".

It was the third visit to Saudi Arabia by a top-level Pakistani delegation since the coalition started military airstrikes in Yemen on March 26.

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