Yemen officially offered mediation

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said Pakistan would play its role in bringing all parties to the Yemen conflict to a political settlement as no military solution could resolve it.

The premier said this while talking to Ambassador of Yemen, Mohammed Motahar Alashabi, who paid a courtesy call on him and conveyed the felicitations of the Yemeni leadership to the prime minister on his election.

Emphasising that all parties must engage in dialogue, the prime minister called for opening channels of humanitarian assistance for the people suffering from famine in Yemen. The ambassador conveyed best wishes for the success of his government in achieving the goal of building a prosperous, progressive and forward looking Pakistan.

The prime minister reciprocated the warm sentiments of the Yemeni leadership and wished for an early end of hostilities for lasting peace in Yemen, which was key to regional and global peace. He also called for more concerted and coordinated efforts at the global level to alleviate the sufferings of Yemeni people and to ensure their safe return to their homes.

Alashabi briefed the prime minister on the latest situation in Yemen. The prime minister assured the ambassador of unwavering support of Pakistan for an early resolution of the conflict, in the light of the UN Security Council Resolution 2216. He said Pakistan would continue to support the restoration of the legitimate government of President Abdurabuh Mansour Hadi and would play its role to bring all parties to conflict for a political settlement.

Meanwhile, talking to a group of legislators from KP, the prime minister said the country is passing through a critical period but visible improvement will be experienced by the people in six months.

The prime minister was of the view that the country has enormous potential and population of more than one hundred million is under 35 years of age and that has the capacity to change the destiny of the nation. He said the PTI government is resolute in implementing its manifesto and its ministers are answerable for their deeds.

“The element which is frightened from the accountability may keep shouting in any manner, but the government is determined to fulfil its commitment with the masses,” Imran Khan said. He said that maintenance of law and order are the first priority of the government. He assured the members that the problems of their respective areas would be resolved on priority basis.

Meanwhile, chairing a meeting on poverty alleviation and relevant reforms, he said that the government doesn’t want to confine poverty reduction to fiscal support, but wish to create employment opportunities and reforms in other sectors since it will be sustainable solution of poverty.

Briefing was given pertaining to technical education’s promotion, increase in employment opportunities and access to the financial assistance, cheap shelter and social security and health Insaf cards. Imran Khan stressed that lack of standard growth is causing deprivation of equal opportunities to our children for development. He reminded that steps are required to be taken in this regard on priority basis.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan was willing to play its role for restoring peace and stopping bloodshed in Yemen and Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to mediate between different parties in the conflict.

Speaking in the Senate, he said the government would seek the wisdom of the Upper House of Parliament to move forward on the issue, with an aim to stop the bloodshed and spread of terrorism, ensure provision of medical aid and food to the affected population, and maintain territorial integrity of Yemen.

He said in 2015, the parliament decided to maintain the country’s neutrality and Saudi Arabia accepted the important role of Pakistan. He stressed the need for national consensus and a long term approach on the issue of Yemen. He said Pakistan will not become a party to the Yemen conflict.

The minister said there was no tension in the Middle East and Gulf region in the past but now the situation was other way round, which was unprecedented. He said Pakistan was affected by the proxy wars in Syria and Yemen. He said tug of war was continuing in the region for dominance and Pakistan was getting affected by it. He said the United States and Arab countries held a summit in Riyadh and later on rivalries were accentuated between different powerful countries.

He said the US withdrew with its agreement with Iran and renewed its sanctions on the country, which would have an effect on its stability. He said the European Union had its differences with the United States for its withdrawal from the agreement with Iran and it was taking steps to keep its trade ties intact with Iran. He pointed out that despite sanctions, the United States gave waiver to India so that it was less impacted because of its sanctions on Iran.

He said Iran and Saudi Arabia were both important to Pakistan. He said workers from Pakistan send billions of dollars earned in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. The position of Saudi Arabia, he said, had seen a shift and Pakistan could make an effort for restoring peace in Yemen and reminded that the United Nations, Arab and Gulf countries made unsuccessful attempts in the past to restore peace in Yemen. He said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the United Nations special envoy wanted to bring the warring Yemeni parties to the table and find a political solution. He said Pakistan and Imran Khan had taken the lead in playing a role to find a solution of the conflict.

The minister said Imran Khan in the past talked about negotiated solution in Afghanistan and now even the US had nominated Zalmay Khalilzad to push the peace process forward and bring reconciliation in our neighbouring country. He congratulated the Senate chairman for holding of Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Gwadar as it brought respect and raised the image and profile of Pakistan. He said Gwadar was brought into the limelight because of the conference.

Qureshi said Saudi Arabia gave an unconditional package and financial support to Pakistan contrary to the apprehension expressed by some people in the country. He took the House into confidence about Pakistan’s relations with China and said the prime minister’s visit to China was very beneficial as he met the top Chinese leadership, including president, premier, and chairman of National People’s Congress and vice president, who were leading the accountability drive in their country.

“We wanted to send a message that our relationship with China was deep and will further deepen. We maintained our strategic relationship and took steps to build the economic relationship with China, which was an economic giant and whose economy once grew in double digits and now was growing at 7.6 percent,” he said.

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