Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Turkey and Pakistan are seeking a political solution to defuse the crisis in Yemen and called on Iran to take part in the joint efforts.
Sharif also suggested that Iran should review Pakistan and Turkey's policy on the matter. "Iran should join the discussion and evaluate whether their policy is correct," Sharif said, speaking at the Pakistani parliament, where discussions of whether or not the country should take part in the Saudi-led military operation against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen were being held.
Sharif also said they were expecting to see the results of the talks that Turkey is holding with Saudi Arabia and Iran to reach an absolute decision on the matter.
"The interior minister of Saudi Arabia went to Turkey yesterday [Monday]. Today [Tuesday] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is in Iran. We are currently waiting for the reports from Turkey on the talks Turkey is holding with Iranian officials. Turkey's foreign minister may come to Islamabad on Wednesday. If not, I will have a phone conversation with Erdoğan," Sharif said on the second day of a session in parliament.
He said that Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to provide troops, fighter jets and warships for its campaign against the rebels, but that Pakistan will respond once the final decision of the government is reached in parliament. The leader of the opposition also said they will support the joint efforts by Pakistan and Turkey to solve the crisis in Yemen. Other opposition parties also expressed their views against participating in a military operation over concerns that it could deepen sectarian divisions in the region. They suggested that a diplomatic approach to solve the crisis peacefully is the best way to attain stability in the region.
Although Pakistan's leadership is an ally of Saudi Arabia, the country is purportedly reluctant to become enemies with Iran. According to reports, Pakistan is preparing to expand economic and political ties with Iran, particularly once sanctions are eased in exchange for certain steps Tehran will take in its nuclear program following an accord reached between Iran and other world powers.
Turkey has previously expressed support for the Saudi-led operation against the Houthis in what looks like an attempt to mend ties with Saudi Arabia, which were comparatively sour before King Abdullah's death on Jan. 23.
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