Pakistan's Sharif heads to Saudi to discuss Yemen war

AFP , Wednesday 22 Apr 2015

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (Photo: Reuters)

Pakistan's prime minister will travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss the war in Yemen, his office said Wednesday, after the Saudi-led military coalition announced an end to air strikes against rebels.

A statement from Nawaz Sharif's offce said he would make a one-day trip to Riyadh on Thursday, and welcomed the Saudi announcement of the end of the air attacks in Yemen.

Sharif will be joined by the country's powerful army chief Raheel Sharif, defence minister Khawaja Asif and other senior officials.

Pakistan has remained ostensibly neutral in the conflict which has pitted the forces of deposed President Abd-Rabbou Mansour Hadi against Houthi Shia rebels, whom Riyadh says are backed by Iran.

Pakistan's parliament earlier this month unanimously voted against complying with Riyadh's request for troops, warplanes and ships.

Sharif's trip is seen by some analysts as intended to pacify the Saudi royal family, with whom he has close personal ties after they sheltered him during his years in exile.

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