LAHORE (Staff Report) – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif will visit Saudi Arabia and Iran next week to defuse the tension between both countries arised in recent weeks, sources said on Saturday.
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PM Nawaz has been scheduled to meet King Salman and other high Saudi officials. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and Adviser to PM Sartaj Aziz will accompany him.
The Pakistani leadership will also meet Iran President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Tuesday after completing Saudi Arabia visit.
The visit comes amid mounting tensions in the region over the war in Syria and after protesters ransacked and burned the Saudi Embassy in Tehran over the execution of a prominent Shia cleric.
Sources in PM House said Pakistan would also take other Muslim countries into confidence after these vists to Riyadh and Tehran.
‘Islamic military alliance’
Earlier this week, Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said Pakistan will not send ground troops to Saudi Arabia or any other country after having joined the 34-state Islamic military alliance led by Saudi Arabia.
In a briefing to the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee at the Parliament House, Aziz said all matters between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been settled. He said Pakistan will be sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia to counter terrorism.
Aziz told the committee that Pakistan is playing its role to diffuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
“An emergency meeting of OIC foreign ministers has been summoned in Jeddah where Pakistan would present important proposals to reduce Iran-Saudi tensions.”
The adviser said Pakistan wishes for peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict and supports all efforts for resumption of dialogue.
The announcement came just a day after Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Pakistan and held meetings with army chief General Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
While Gen Raheel assured Prince Mohammad bin Salman of a “strong response” to threats to his country’s territorial integrity, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for resolving its crisis with Iran through diplomacy and offered Pakistan’s good offices in this regard.
“Pakistan has historically pursued the policy of promoting brotherhood among member states of the OIC. Pakistan has also always expressed its readiness to offer its good offices to brotherly Muslim countries for resolution of their differences,” the prime minister was quoted by his office as having told the Saudi deputy crown prince.