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Pakistan and Turkey decide to defend Saudi sovereignty

Ankara — Pakistan and Turkey have decided to stand with Saudi Arabia to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said.

The two countries on Friday called on Yemen’s warring parties to reach a peaceful solution to end the ongoing crisis.

The appeal was made during a joint Press conference held by visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Sharif said Pakistan is concerned by the overthrow of Yemen’s government and will stand by Saudi Arabia as it leads a campaign against Houthi rebels there.

Sharif called on Thursday for a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament to consider whether to join the Saudi-led military coalition, which has launched days of air strikes to try to stem the advance of the Iran-backed Houthi militants.

“We are concerned at the overthrow of the legitimate government in Yemen by use of force by non-state actors,” Sharif said.

“We have agreed to extend all possible support in the defence of Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

Sharif’s visit to Turkey came only a day after he called for a special session of parliament to consider whether to join the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. The visit is mainly aimed at consulting with Turkey about the current crisis in the Middle East, said a statement by Sharif’s office before he left for Turkey. Pakistan believed in the peaceful resolution to the crisis and wished to promote unity among the Muslim nations, said the statement.

Turkey has evacuated 55 citizens who were stranded in Yemen from Yemen’s Aden to Djibouti by a Turkish Naval Forces’ frigate on Friday. On his part, the Turkish prime minister said that Ankara hailed a deal reached between Iran and the world powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme as a “positive step”. Davutoglu also called on all parties to act responsibly in order to move the process forward.

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