Saudi Arabia’s chief diplomat assures Pakistan of Kingdom’s support amid regional crisis - Kogonuso


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Mar 8, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s chief diplomat assures Pakistan of Kingdom’s support amid regional crisis

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir visited Islamabad for talks on Thursday, following last week’s standoff between India and

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi welcomed Al-Jubeir, and expressed gratitude for the Kingdom’s “steadfast support,” and the offer from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to “help resolve” the crisis when the two nuclear-armed nations had appeared to be on the brink of war.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also thanked the crown prince after Saudi Arabia released 2,107 Pakistani prisoners, and increased its annual Hajj quota to 200,000 pilgrims, stating he had “won the hearts of Pakistani people with his generous offer.”

Al-Jubeir noted Khan’s overtures to India to de-escalate tensions along the Kashmiri border, and expressed “deep appreciation” for Pakistan’s show of restraint in the face of a grave military situation.

He assured Islamabad of Saudi Arabia’s continued support for finding a peaceful settlement, and also met with Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Last week, Qureshi stated that Al-Jubeir would be visiting the country with an important message from the crown prince, but officials declined to comment on what was conveyed.

In the aftermath of a suicide attack on Feb. 14 which killed more than 40 paramilitaries in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir, New Delhi, which claims the attack was orchestrated by Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, conducted a failed airstrike on its western neighbor. Pakistan hit back, shooting down two Indian jets, and capturing a pilot.
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Khan helped defuse the crisis by releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to India on March 1, even though the country’s armed forces remain on high alert.

This week, Islamabad announced that its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood would return to New Delhi, and that a delegation would visit India on March 14 to discuss draft agreements for the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims visiting sites in Pakistan. This has widely been viewed as a further demonstration of Khan’s intent to avoid further conflict, and his confidence in the backing of the international community.

Al-Jubeir’s visit comes just weeks after the conclusion of the crown prince’s own trip to the region, which began with a two-day visit to Pakistan in February, where he held talks with Khan, before flying to India for discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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