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Sharif to hold talks with Saudi leaders on Qatar fallout

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accompanied by senior officials and advisors left for Saudi Arabia on a day-long visit as the middle east countries face deteriorating relations.

Published: 12th June 2017 04:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2017 04:59 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif | File | IANS

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif | File | IANS

By IANS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accompanied by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Bajwa on Monday left for Saudi Arabia on a day-long visit in the backdrop of a deepening diplomatic rift in the Middle East, a media report said.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and other senior officials are also part of the delegation, Dawn online reported.

Sharif is expected to hold talks with Saudi leadership centered on deteriorating relations between Gulf nations after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

In its earlier response to the Middle East crisis, Pakistan had stressed the need for unity in the Muslim world and urged the countries involved to engage in dialogue.

Ahead of his visit, Sharif called a meeting of the country's top envoys from Gulf countries to discuss the Saudi-Qatar rift.

Pakistani ambassadors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz attended the conference on Monday.

"Since Pakistan enjoys good relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar, we will try our best to resolve the differences between the Arab countries," Nawaz Sharif had told journalists during a recent visit to Kazakhstan.

Pakistan shares "good" ties with all Gulf countries and has been asked by the country's parliament to stay neutral in the crisis, while trying to resolve it. 

Last week, lawmakers at the National Assembly expressed "deep concern" over the diplomatic rift in the Gulf and passed a resolution urging all countries to "show restraint and resolve their differences through dialogue".

A six-member Qatari delegation had reportedly visited Islamabad last week to relay a message from the Qatari emir, asking Pakistan to play a positive role in resolving the diplomatic crisis engulfing the Middle East, Dawn reported.

However, the Foreign Office had denied knowledge of any such visit.

On Sunday, Pakistan rejected as "fabricated and baseless" reports that it plans to deploy its troops in Qatar amid diplomatic tensions in the Middle East.

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