Ladies & Gentlemen!
I have seen many media comments in Pakistan and abroad on the Yemen crisis, particularly after the Resolution passed by the Parliament on 10th April. I think it is necessary to clarify Pakistan’s position on different dimensions of the crisis.
From the very start, Pakistan’s policy was based on the following principles:
· The importance of Saudi Arabia as one of our most important strategic allies;
· The sanctity of the two Holy Mosques and full support to their Custodian;
· Pakistan’s long term commitment to Saudi sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability which has been the main pillar of our foreign policy pursued by successive governments;
· Our firm assurance to our Saudi brothers that we shall stand shoulder to shoulder with them;
· Strong condemnation of actions by the Houthis and other non-state actors to overthrow the legitimate government of Yemen and serious concern at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation; and,
· The urgency of finding a peaceful solution of the crisis through dialogue among the warring factions.
The Resolution passed by the Parliament on 10th April, fully endorses these principles and strengthens the hands of the Government for playing a positive and constructive role. The Resolution has affirmed, in clear and categorical terms, that any violation of the Saudi territorial sovereignty or threat to the two Holy Mosques will evoke a strong response from Pakistan. This assurance has been given despite the massive commitment of our armed forces in the on-going Operation Zarb-e-Azab, in which hundreds of our brave soldiers and security personnel have laid down their lives.
We have already intensified contacts with Saudi Arabia to monitor the ground situation and possible threats to the security and territorial integrity of the Kingdom. We believe that the restoration of President Hadi’s government will be an important step forward towards establishing peace in Yemen.
I also conveyed to the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Javad Zarif during his visit to Pakistan on 8-9th April that the violent overthrow of the legitimate government in Yemen by the Houthis had set a dangerous precedent that was fraught with serious risks for the entire region. I also urged him to use Iran’s influence to bring the Houthis to the negotiating table.
We are also in touch with other GCC countries to assure them that their disappointment was based on an apparent misinterpretation of Parliament’s Resolution. Pakistan does not abandon friends and strategic partners, especially at a time when their security is under threat.
My government continues to follow the policy of fortifying and strengthening the bonds of friendship with the Gulf countries. There should be no doubt about our policy of solidarity with the GCC States.
Some media reports are speculative and tend to create misunderstanding between Pakistan and its Arab brothers. We have not responded to these speculations because we believe that public comments would be counter-productive.
Pakistan will intensify its diplomatic efforts in the coming days, in consultation with the leadership of Saudi Arabia, to resolve the crisis.