Pakistan and Turkey have said they are willing to work together for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Yemen, where the Saudi-led Gulf-states’ military alliance has launched attacks against Houthi rebels, who have taken control of large areas of the country and are apparently backed by Iran.
Addressing a joint press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Ahmed Davutoglu expressed concern over the use of force by non-state actors in Yemen that led to the overthrow of its government.
Prime Minister Nawaz, who was on a day-long visit to Turkey as part of his consultations with the brotherly countries on the crisis, termed the situation in Yemen as ‘grave’ and cautioned that the crisis might endanger the unity of the Muslim ummah.
“The security situation in the gulf state is [constantly] deteriorating,” he said, adding that the crisis has implications for the whole region.
He referred to his talks with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and said both sides are of the view that “the current crisis in Yemen could plunge the region into turmoil.”
The PM said Saudi Arabia is a close friend of both Pakistan and Turkey and the two countries will defend its integrity.
“We agreed that we will stand by Saudi Arabia in its hour of need … [and] agreed to extend all possible support in the defense of Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
He said Pakistan and Turkey have close and brotherly relations with other Islamic countries in the region and attach great importance to their security and territorial integrity.
The prime minister said Pakistan would stay engaged with Saudi leadership and those of other Muslim countries in the region. “Exchange of such visits is essential for joint policies on international issues,” he said.
Turkish PM Davutoglu in his remarks said both countries hold unanimity of views on the crisis in Yemen. He said Turkey has always supported efforts for peace and tranquility in Yemen.
“Pakistan and Turkey are willing to work for peace in the region and stressed for an end to the role of non-state actors,” he said.
Davutoglu referred to Turkey’s stated position with reference to situation in Yemen and said his country is in contact with both Saudi Arabia and Iran and called for an end to sectarian strife in the region.
He mentioned close bilateral ties between Pakistan and Turkey in all spheres and said they have stood together through thick and thin, as has been proven by history.
He said talks with PM Nawaz covered bilateral ties and the situation in the region that was passing through a historical phase.
Davutoglu said that the Turkish foreign minister would be visiting Pakistan next week to carry forward the process of consultations. He added that Turkey viewed positively the outcome of Iran’s nuclear talks.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu held a one-on-one meeting at the Canakya Palace.
Prime Minister Nawaz later met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace. Besides having a detailed meeting, the prime minister and the accompanying delegation participated in a working luncheon hosted by President Erdogan.
The PM shared Pakistan’s concern at recent developments and underscored the importance of close consultations between Pakistan and Turkey on this issue that threatened regional stability and the Ummah’s unity.
Both leaders agreed to remain in close contact, hold consultations through appropriate mechanisms, and develop a way forward to promote the shared goal of a quick and peaceful resolution of the issue.
The PM was accompanied by a high-level delegation including his aide on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Minister of State Syed Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, and senior officials.
Pakistan adopts two-pronged strategy: Asif
According to some media reports, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said the government has adopted a two-pronged strategy to come up with a solution for Yemen crisis.
Speaking to the media at Islamabad airport, Asif said the government is committed to Saudi Arabia’s security as well as finding a peaceful solution for the Yemen issue.
“We stand committed to the Saudis’ security and integrity and we have said that out very clearly,” he said. “However, we are using the option of bringing the Muslim world together to find a peaceful solution of the Yemen crisis,” Asif added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2015.