Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has no immediate plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, the Foreign Office spokesperson said on Monday.


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The FO statement follows the surprise act of five Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt of cutting all diplomatic relations with fellow Gulf Arab state, Qatar, for allegedly supporting terrorism and extremism.

On Monday, Saudi news agency SPA said Riyadh cut diplomatic ties and closed borders with its neighbour to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

Responding to the announcement, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret over the decision of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates’ and Egypt.

“The Arab countries took measures after baseless claims and allegations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that these attempts by fellow Gulf nation would not impose any negative impact on lives of its citizens and residents.

“Pakistan has no such plans,” FO spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in a statement.

“At the moment there is nothing on Qatar issue, (we) will issue a statement if some development takes place,” Zakaria added.

Pakistan, which has a significant Shia population, has in recent years been caught between the feud between its Sunni ally, Saudi Arabia, and Shia majority neighbour Iran.

A senior Iranian official said on Monday the decision by some Gulf Arab states and Egypt to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East.

“The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders is over… it is not a way to resolve crisis. These countries have no other option but to start regional dialogue,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted on Monday.

“What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” he said in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

Trump and other US officials had participated in a ceremonial sword dance in a trip to Saudi Arabia last month. During his tour to the Kingdom, Trump singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.

Iranian authorities have criticised a rising alliance between Washington and Riyadh against Tehran, saying it would further heighten crisis in the Middle East.

Sunni Kingdom Saudi Arabia and Shia-led Iran are at odds over what Riyadh sees as Tehran’s efforts to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen.