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Sharif to visit Saudi Arabia tomorrow


Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will travel to Saudi Arabia tomorrow in a bid to cool tempers in the Gulf kingdom over Islamabad’s refusal to provide troops for Yemen war, officials said today.

The Prime Minister’s day-long visit comes about a week after his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif led a delegation to Riyadh but apparently failed to mend ties.

Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan for military assistance, including ground troops, fighter jets and navy vessels to join the coalition forces in the Yemen operation.

However, the Pakistani parliament unanimously approved a resolution calling for maintaining neutrality during the conflict in Yemen, annoying Saudi leaders.

Sharif is expected to meet King Salman, who, according to sources, had refused to meet the younger Sharif last week.

The visit coincides with Saudi’s announcement to end the Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen and start the next phase that has been codenamed Operation Hope.

It would be Sharif’s second visit to the kingdom in less than two months. He last travelled to Saudi Arabia on March 3.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has welcomed the end of coalition air campaign in Yemen, saying the move will pave the way for political solution of the crisis in Yemen.

Pakistan shares the desire of Saudi Arabia for peaceful settlement of the (Yemen) crisis, a Foreign Office statement said.

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