PM Nawaz, army chief arrive in Riyadh

Sources claim convincing Saudi Arabia their stance may be an uphill task for the govt


Abdul Manan April 23, 2015
PHOTO: HANDOUT

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accompanied by Army chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Riyadh on Thursday on a one-day tour.


PHOTO: HANDOUT

According to sources, the visit will be an uphill task for both the leaders as they will have a tough time convincing Saudi Arabia on Pakistan’s opinion about committing troops for the conflict.


Read: Crisis in Arabian Peninsula: Pakistan unlikely to budge on Yemen

“The PM and COAS’ visit to KSA will decide the country’s relations with KSA for about the next five years,” a top government official told The Express Tribune.


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"It will be an uphill task for the visiting civil and military leadership to convince Saudis on Pakistan's point of view of committing troops for Yemen," sources added.

Read: Will of parliament: ‘Stay out of Yemen conflict’

Upon arrival, the delegation was received by Prince Mohammad bin Nayef Al-Saud, deputy crown prince and minister for interior, Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud and defence minister at the airport.


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The premier was presented a guard of honour upon arrival.

Earlier, onboard the special plane the premier chaired a meeting on the Yemen conflict attended by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, army chief, Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry.

A statement released by the PM House further said that the premier is expected to hold meetings with top Saudi leadership including King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.



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"Evolving situation in Yemen would come under discussion during the meetings," the statement added.

Read: Decisive Storm: Saudi-led coalition calls off Yemen operation

The Prime Minister is accompanied by Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

Saudi Arabia, which halted air strikes on Yemen has started a next phase named Renewal of Hope.

While official Saudi news agency reported that King Salman has ordered the country’s national guard to take part in the Yemen operation, which according to sources in federal government is signal of next step of ground operation.

However, the Kingdom resumed air strikes on Wednesday, following attacks by rebels.

According to sources, Saudis are interested in launching ground offence in Yemen with the support of the Pakistan Army, Egypt and Turkey along with GCC allies.

Read: Saudi wish-list: Royal expectations unveiled

On April 10, a joint session of the Parliament passed a resolution which declared that Pakistan will remain neutral on the Yemen issue. This, however, infuriated UAE and Arab league which criticized Pakistan’s vague stance.

Later PM issued a statement where he tried to remove the emerging tension between Pakistan and the Arab league, distancing the government from its neutral stance to support SA, but did not define the parameters of the assurance to Saudi Arabia.

After the delegation led by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited Saudi Arabia, the government once again vowed to support the Kingdom, however, did not lay out a framework of cooperation.

Read: High-level delegation departs for Riyadh to discuss framework to meet Saudi troop demand

Sources said that Saudis may not be satisfied with Pakistan's stance and may reiterate their demand for troops for the Yemen operation.

Further, sources said that if King Salman does not budge from his decision then COAS might have no other option but to give in to Saudi Arabia's demands.

Sources said that in exchange, provision of oil on increased deferred payment, purchase of weapons and other privileges for the Pakistanis will be granted.

COMMENTS (30)

Khalid F Khan | 7 years ago | Reply On his last visit NS was received at the airport by the King and the entire cabinet. This time by the deputy Crown Prince! Last time they provided a list of their military requirements. This time they said 'Thank you, we don't want anything!. We basically blew it. When will we learn not to involve the legislature in executive decisions that government has received a mandate for? Did not the National Assemblies of Japan, Iraq and Iraq not pass resolutions that destroyed their nations in war! We have undone decades of goodwill with our vacillation and ambiguity. The UAE minister is basically right and needed a diplomatic response, not chest thumping.
ZAK | 7 years ago | Reply When the COAS travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet King Salman, he was accompanied by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
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