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Pakistan initiates efforts to de-escalate Gulf tension

June 13, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had an important meeting with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz at his Jeddah Royal Palace, has returned home after a hectic trip in the wee hours today (Tuesday).

Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News that both the crown princes, Prince Muhammad bin Naif (Crown Prince) and Prince Muhammad bin Salman (Deputy Crown Prince), were present during the meeting and their presence marked the significance the Saudi leadership had attached to the visit. Some other senior ministers were also present on the occasion. 

The sources said that the visit has helped Pakistan in making a better assessment of the situation in the Gulf region. Pakistan is opposed to all sorts of terrorism and had throughout been pleading for unity and solidarity in the ranks of Ummah.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was visibly concerned about the developments in the Gulf area and took his hosts into confidence about the position Pakistan had been taking, the sources added. It would be premature to make an appraisal about the viewpoint of the Saudi leadership but sources did maintain that the Saudi king welcomed the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The prime minister was assisted by Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Adviser for Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Secretary to the Prime Minister (SPM) Fawad Hasan Fawad, Pakistan’s Ambassador for Saudi Arabia Admiral Hisham bin Siddique Khan and senior officials.

Earlier, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz hosted a Iftar-dinner in the honour of the prime minister and his delegation. The premier was received and seen off by Governor Makkah Prince Faysal bin Abdul Aziz.

Prime Minister Nawaz had a lengthy session of brainstorming in mid-air during his whirlwind visit and had discussions regarding the situation in the region with the members of his delegation.

The prime minister also chaired here an envoys conference before leaving for the Holy Land where Pakistan’s ambassadors in the region were present and they offered their situation report to evolve a national strategy for the government, the sources said. The envoys conference submitted potential feedback and reportedly advised to make a dash to the concerned areas.

The sources hinted that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would evaluate the situation in a high echelon meeting today (Tuesday) later in the day. It is likely that he would visit Kuwait for peace in the Gulf region that took him to Jeddah on Monday on an emergency basis. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his 15-hour trip, spent nine hours in travelling.

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