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Pakistan's Syria policy neutral, claims Sartaj

02 April, 2014

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LONDON: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz has said Pakistan wants to strike a balance between Saudi Arabia and Iran to ease tensions between the two countries.

In an interview with BBC's Urdu Service, Sartaj said Pakistan was following a neutral policy on Syria in line with UN resolutions. He said that sectarian divisions were very harmful for the Islamic world. In reply to a question, the adviser said the $1.5 billion aid provided by Saudi Arabia was direly needed by the country.

He said Pakistan had released Afghan Taliban to take forward the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Pakistan wanted the Afghan Taliban to take part in the election process and join the mainstream, but they are no more in our control. He regretted that soon after the start of the election campaign in Afghanistan, negative statements had been increased against Pakistan by Afghan leaders.

Sartaj said no request had been made for getting additional US arms and ammunition in Afghanistan and if Pakistan would need them, it would be acquired from other US bases in other parts of the world.

The adviser said without resolving the issues with the neighbouring country, the Pakistan military had reservations over friendship and trade with India. He said the environment will have to be improved to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit Iran in May or June to discuss bilateral relations and world issues. When he was asked if Pakistan was sending arms to Syria, he said there was no specific agreement about Syria in the present circumstances.

He said Islamabad was making efforts to sell small arms and fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia. He said it was strange that objections were being raised about it, though all world nations wanted to sell their weapons to other countries. He said there was no difficulty for Saudi Arabia to purchase weapons from any other country. There was no need for creating any doubts on the issue, he added.

He said the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project was intact, but due to sanctions the time limit for its implementation would have to be reset.

End.

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