Khar and Saudi FM to discuss crisis in Syria
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is likely to visit Riyadh on Jan 1 for consultations on the aggravating Syrian crisis amid stepped-up international efforts to end the conflict.
“The foreign minister will stop over in the Saudi capital on her way to New York,” a senior Pakistani official told Dawn.
Ms Khar is travelling to New York on the occasion of Pakistan assuming the United Nations Security Council’s rotational presidency.
Ms Khar was last week invited by her Saudi counterpart Prince Saud Al Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to visit Riyadh for urgent consultations.
Saudi Arabia, the official disclosed, is asking Pakistan to play a role during its UNSC presidency and persuade Russia and China to join a fresh western initiative on Syria. He did not disclose the specifics of the proposal being pushed by the West and Arab countries.
Russia has been diplomatically supporting the Assad regime and China has been blocking the UNSC resolutions for sanctions against Syria.
Pakistan has been maintaining an ambivalent position on the crisis. Unlike Tehran, Moscow and Beijing, Islamabad has never expressed its support for embattled President Assad, but has also stayed clear of endorsing the rebels.
“Regarding our policy on Syria, we are concerned about the security situation in the country and are also concerned about the killing of innocent people and hope that the issue will be resolved through peaceful means,” FO Spokesman Moazzam Khan said.
At the OIC foreign ministers’ meeting last month, Ms Khar had said that “democratic aspirations of the people of Syria can only be achieved in an enabling environment of peace”.
FO BRIEFING: At the weekly media briefing, the FO spokesman said that Pakistan, in principle, had no objection to hosting election observer missions to monitor the coming polls.
However, he said, it would be for the caretaker government and the Election Commission of Pakistan to formally invite the election observers.
The spokesman said the internal process for granting the Most Favoured Nation status to India was continuing. He did not say if Pakistan would be able to grant the MFN status to India by the promised date of Dec 31.
“Hopefully, these processes will be completed soon,” he said, adding that the government had already decided to grant this status to India.