Pakistan

Saudi defence minister completes Pakistan visit

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman returned to his country after completing his state visit to Pakistan, ARY News reported.

In his visit to the country, the Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia met Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Shareef.

Pakistan Defence Minister Khwaja Asif had received his Saudi counterpart at the airport. Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was also present on the occasion.

It was the second high-level Saudi official visit to Pakistan in last four days.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir’s had also couple of days ago visited Pakistan to hold talks on regional issues and Kingdom’s rift with Iran.

Pakistan’s inclusion in the 34-nation alliance against extremism and terrorism is also likely to be discussed as well.

What is 34-nation alliance against terrorism?

Saudi Arabia announced on December 15, 2015 the formation of a military coalition of 34 countries to fight “terrorism” in the Islamic world, in the latest sign of a more assertive foreign policy by the kingdom.

The alliance was announced by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defence minister, on the same day that peace talks between the Yemeni government and Iran-backed rebels began in Switzerland, accompanied by a shaky ceasefire.

The prince told a rare news conference that the Riyadh-based coalition will “be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge” of terrorism in the Islamic world.

The coalition will fight “any terrorist organisation that appears”, Mohammed said when asked if it would concentrate only on the Islamic State (IS) group of Sunni extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Pakistan is also a part of 34-nation Saudi alliance against terrorism.

At the time of confirming country’s participation in the alliance, Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah had said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are close friends and they cooperate with each other in diverse fields. He said Pakistan supported regional and international efforts for elimination of terrorism.

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