Saudi Arabia pledged the Somali government USD 50 million in aid on the same day Mogadishu declared it had severed ties with Iran, a report says.
ISLAMABAD: Defence minister Khawaja Asif has cancelled a planned trip to Tehran, apparently due to Iran’s tension with Saudi Arabia – a key ally of Pakistan.
Asif was scheduled to travel to Tehran on a two-day visit from Monday for promoting defence ties between the two countries, the Dawn reported.
According to the paper, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the cancellation of the trip.
‘He will try to convince the two leaders that their tension was adding to the problems faced by the Muslim world’
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to undertake an important visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia on Monday to reduce tensions between the two nations, his office said yesterday.
He will travel first to Riyadh and proceed from there to Tehran after meetings with Saudi leadership, according to official sources.
The decision was taken after behind-the-scene contacts by Pakistan with both countries to lower temperatures in the region after Iranian rioters attacked and set fire to Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad following Saudi Arabia’s execution of a local Shiite cleric along with dozens of other Islamists convicted of terrorism.
Riyadh responded to the attacks by severing all relations with Iran.
Iran then snapped all commercial ties with Saudi Arabia and stopped pilgrims from travelling to Makkah for Umrah.
Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said yesterday that Sharif would depart tomorrow for Riyadh, where he will meet with King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz. On Tuesday Sharif will meet with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.
“The prime minister’s crucial initiative comes after positive indications from both sides,” a senior government official who did not want to be named told Gulf News, referring to two high-profile visits from Riyadh to Islamabad earlier this month as well as discussions held by Pakistani authorities with Iranian officials.
The crisis in relations between the two major Muslim states was at the centre of talks during separate visits of Saudi foreign minister and defence minister to Islamabad.