PM Nawaz and COAS Raheel Shareef to leave for Iran & Saudi Arab on Monday

ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif will leave for Saudi Arabia and Iran on Monday on a one-day trip for defusing tension between the two countries. 

They would meet Saudi King and the Iranian president during his two day trip to Saudi Arabia and Iran. Nawaz would also take other Muslim countries into confidence for defusing tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

According sources in the Prime Minister’s Office, the prime minister and the army chief would offer Pakistan mediation between two Muslim countries in the best interests of the Muslim ummah.

Pakistan is highly important for the Saudi Arabia and it appreciated Pakistan efforts for ensuring the regional security, said Saudi Defense Minister Recently.

He said that the Saudi Arabia puts Pakistan and its army in the high esteem. He announced the support for Pakistan in all matters.

Pakistan reaffirmed on Thursday its support to Saudi Arabia, which is embroiled in a tense standoff with Iran, and the counter-terrorism coalition that it (Riyadh) was setting up.

People of Pakistan held the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in high esteem and also had deep respect for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, they will always stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its territorial integrity and sovereignty, PM Sharif told FM Jubeir, while assuring him of Pakistan’s unconditional support.

The Saudi foreign minister started his whirlwind tour of Islamabad with a meeting with Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif at GHQ and then visited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at his residence before concluding the trip with a meeting with Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

He was to originally visit Islamabad on Sunday, but postponed it at the eleventh hour due to the storming of Saudi embassy in Tehran by protesters agitating against the execution of Saudi dissident Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al Nimr.

The Foreign Office cancelled a planned joint press conference by Mr Aziz and Mr Jubeir to avoid possible media questions over the recent regional developments involving Saudi Arabia.

Besides the tensions with Iran, the Saudi foreign minister was said to have briefed Prime Minister Sharif on details of the counter terrorism coalition.

Saudi Arabia had last month announced that it was establishing a 34 nation coalition to fight terrorism. The government at the time of announcement of the coalition, in which Pakistan had been included, conceded that it did not know much about the group, but still agreed to join it.

It was also said that the extent of involvement in the activities would be decided after Riyadh shared the details.