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Pakistan rejects UAE minister's remarks on neutral Yemen role

Xinhua, April 12, 2015 Adjust font size:

Pakistan's interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, on Sunday rejected as "against diplomatic norms" remarks by a UAE minister that Pakistan "will have a heavy price to pay" for its neutral stand in the conflict in Yemen.

Pakistani parliament has unanimously urged the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to remain neutral in the Yemen conflict.

Saudi Arabia, which is a long-standing ally of Pakistan and has led a coalition to launch airstrikes on Shiite Houthis in Yemen, has not yet commented on the parliament resolution; however, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash condemned the Pakistani decision.

Gargash said Pakistan is required to show a clear stand in favor of its strategic relations with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, as contradictory and ambiguous views on this serious matter will have a heavy price to pay.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson avoided comments on the statement when the media sought response to the UAE minister.

The interior minister; however, dismissed what he called a " threatening approach."

"Pakistan nation has brotherly sentiments for Saudi Arabia and UAE. But the threats by the UAE minister are unfortunate and a matter of concern," the Pakistani minister said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia has sought Pakistan's fighter jets, warships and ground troops, Defense Minister Khwaja Asif has told the parliament after his visit to Saudi Arabia this month.

The Pakistan parliament resolution turned down Riyadh's request for troops, ships and warplanes, saying: "Pakistan should play a mediating role and not get involved in fighting in Yemen."

Reports suggest that a Saudi minister is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad to encourage Pakistani leaders to support his country in the conflict. Endi