Pakistan's top defense delegation leaves for Saudi Arabia over Yemen crisis

April 1, 2015 5:37 am 

ISLAMABAD, March 31 — A high-level Pakistani defense delegation left for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss the situation following air strikes against the Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition, officials said.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif is leading the delegation that is comprised of top security adviser Sartaj Aziz and senior military officials.

"We will provide all resources if there is any threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia," the minister said before departure to Riyadh.

"Pakistan wants an end to conflicts in the Muslim world," he said, adding that his country is seeking a solution to disputes through peaceful means.

Senior military officials include Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmad, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Rear Admiral Kalim Shaulkat and Air Vice Marshal Mujahid Anwar.

The Pakistani delegation left for Saudi Arabia shortly after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over a high-level meeting to review the situation in the Middle East and evacuation of stranded Pakistani nationals in Yemen.

The government said on Monday that Prime Minster Sharif "would be contacting the leadership of brotherly countries" about the crisis in the Middle East, officials said.

The Pakistani army said a pre-scheduled Pak-Saudi joint military exercise has already been continuing in the Saudi city of Taif since March 19. Two hundred and ninety-two Pakistani troops are participating in the exercise, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa said. (PNA/Xinhua)



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