Saudi foreign minister due in Pakistan for anti-terrorism talks

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister was due in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss Pakistan's participation in a military alliance of Muslim states against terrorism, officials said.

Abel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir would meet Pakistani leaders including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, diplomats in Islamabad told dpa.

Riyadh last month proposed a 34-nation alliance of Muslim states to fight terrorism. The group initially excluded countries including its major regional rival, Iran, and Afghanistan, although Afghanistan was invited to join shortly afterwards.

More recently, tensions flared between Sunni-majority Gulf states and Shiite Iran after the execution by Saudi Arabia on Saturday of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Pakistan initially said it was surprised by its inclusion in the anti-terrorism alliance but later announced it would participate, depending on details of the venture.

“This is exactly what the minister is coming for,” a diplomat at Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said, who did not wished to be named. “He will tell us what the contours are.”

Islamabad surprised observers when it turned down a request by Riyadh last year to join its alliance in Yemen against Houthi rebels last year.

Last update: Thu, 07/01/2016 - 11:34
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