PHOTO: REUTERS PHOTO: REUTERS

Saudi Coalition: Pakistan has No Intentions to Upset Iran or Destabilize Syria - FO

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Thursday, 24 December 2015 20:12

ISLAMABAD: A Senior Foreign Office officials said on Wednesday that Pakistan though have joined the Saudi Arabia-led 34-nation coalition against terrorism, but will not be a party to destabilise Syria or strain Islamabad’s relationship with Tehran.

According to them, the assurance came from the federal government during an in-camera session of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry attended the meeting presided over by committee chairperson Senator Nuzhat Sadiq.

The meeting discussed the decision of the government to join the Saudi-led coalition and its possible implications for Pakistan.

According to insiders, some committee members voiced concerns over the government’s decision of joining the Saudi alliance without taking parliament into confidence. Their apprehensions stemmed from fears that the newly-formed alliance might be used against Syria and Iran.

However, FO officials, according to sources, dismissed such concerns and clarified that Pakistan’s participation in the Saudi coalition is only meant for efforts against terrorism.

The official pointed out that Pakistan’s position on Syria remained clear that it was strictly opposed to foreign intervention for ousting the government of President Basharul Assad.

“We will continue to seek the political solution of the Syrian crisis,” the official added, allaying fears of some of the committee members.

The Saudi-led alliance is seen as an attempt by Riyadh to reassert itself at a time when realignments are taking place in the wake of the world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran.

The committee members also warned the government that Saudi Arabia formed the alliance to counter Iran, something that carries huge implications.

However, FO officials insisted that Pakistan’s relations with Iran will not be affected by its decision to join Saudi coalition.  “This coalition is not against any specific country,” explained the FO official.

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