Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to take a clear position on the ongoing diplomatic crisis in West Asia, between Qatar and several Gulf countries which have cut off ties with the kingdom, reported The Express Tribune. During a meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Jeddah on Monday, the Saudi king asked Sharif, “Are you with us or with Qatar?”
However, Pakistan said that it would not take sides in the diplomatic crisis, which began on June 5, fter Saudi Arabia and several other countries cut ties with and banned flights to and from Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Riyadh wants Islamabad to side with the kingdom, but a senior government official was quoted as saying that while Pakistan would support any initiatives to foster unity among Muslim countries, it could not take sides in the conflict.
However, Pakistan offered to use its influence over Qatar to defuse the situation. In this regard, Sharif will be travelling to Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey. While Kuwait has made efforts to resolve the crisis, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday lashed out at countries for isolating Qatar, calling the action ‘inhumane and un-Islamic’.
Another Pakistani official said that Pakistan would complement Kuwait’s efforts to defuse the crisis, but would not play the role of a direct mediator between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “This is primarily an issue among the Gulf countries and we hope they resolve the issue by themselves,” the official said.
The Saudi Press Agency said that King Salman and Sharif discussed the “latest regional developments” in addition to bilateral relations, reported PTI. King Salman told Sharif that “the fight against extremism and terrorism is in the interest of all Muslims and the Ummah”.
Meanwhile, Qatar has withdrawn its peacekeeping troops from the Djibouti-Eritrea border, reported AFP. Both Djibouti and Eritrea have good relations with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.