Saudis convinced to prefer negotiated Yemen solution
Ansar Abbasi
Saturday, April 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is likely to further its role for a negotiated solution of the Yemen crisis after a high-level delegation, headed by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, told Riyadh that total dependence on the military option would only exacerbate the crisis.

Well-informed government sources confided to The News that in view of the latest interactions between Riyadh and Islamabad, Pakistan may call upon the rebel Houthis to immediately lay down their arms and return to the negotiated table for a peaceful solution of the crisis.

These sources said that Shahbaz Sharif also cautioned the Saudi authorities on the dangers and implications of getting entangled into a civil or guerilla war. The Saudis were told that Pakistan, being a sincere friend of Saudi Arabia, does not want the latter to get involved in any such trouble.

The Saudis, the sources said, were also told that such wars amongst Muslims should also be avoided as they divide and weaken the Ummah. Pakistan again assured the Saudi rulers that it would do its best to get the issue settled through a negotiated solution to the best interest of Riyadh and Ummah. Pakistan reiterated its stance that in case of any threat to the territorial security of Saudi Arabia, it would use all its resources to defend the brotherly country.

According to sources, Pakistan intends to further its efforts for a negotiated solution to the crisis to avoid troubles for Saudi Arabia. A formal statement from Pakistan calling upon the Houthis to lay down their arms is also being considered by the government. The government would also warn the Houthis and other rebels that any attempt to challenge the territorial sovereignty of Saudi Arabia would not be tolerated by Pakistan.

In a high-level meeting on Thursday, Pakistan assured Saudi Arabia that it would play a pro-active role in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on the Yemen crisis.The UN resolution, adopted on April 14, 2015, called upon the Houthis to end the use of violence that undermined the political transition in Yemen, and called upon them to withdraw their forces from all areas they had seized, including the capital Sanaa, and relinquish all the arms seized from military and security institutions.

The resolution demanded “All Yemeni parties adhere to resolving their differences through dialogue and consultation, reject acts of violence to achieve political goals, and refrain from provocation and all unilateral actions to undermine the political transition and stresses that all parties should take concrete steps to agree and implement a consensus-based political solution to Yemen’s crisis in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its implementation mechanism and the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue conference.”

It also urged all the Yemeni parties to respond positively to the request of the president of Yemen to attend a conference in Riyadh, under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council, to further support the political transition in Yemen, and to complement and support the UN-brokered negotiations.

The resolution also decided that all member states shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to, or for the benefit of, Yemeni rebels.

Published in The News