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PM Nawaz, COAS to leave on Saudi Arabia, Iran visit on Monday

raheel nawaz

ISLAMABAD (APS)Jan 16,2016— Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif will visit Riyadh and Tehran in a bid to mend ties between the archrivals after the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite cleric led to mob attacks on the kingdom s diplomatic posts in Iran.

Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Saturday that Sharif would depart Monday for Riyadh, where he will meet with King Salman. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are longtime allies.

On Tuesday Sharif will meet with Iran s President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

The Pakistani prime minister will be accompanied by his country s military chief, General Raheel Sharif and advisor to PM Sartaj Aziz.

The trip comes amid mounting tensions in the region over the war in Syria and after protesters ransacked and burned the Saudi Embassy in Tehran over the execution of a Shiite cleric.

Nimr, who spent more than a decade studying theology in Iran, was among a group of 47 Shia and Sunnis executed Saturday on charges of terrorism.

Iran said in reaction to Nimr s execution that “the Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists, but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution.”

Earlier, Saudi Defence Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman met General Raheel Sharif at General Head-Quarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. Prince Muhammad bin Salman said on this occasion that Saudi Arabia will support Pakistan on every matter.

Saudi Defence Minister was welcomed earlier today at Noor Khan Airbase by Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Foreign Advisor Sartaj Aziz and military officials. Prince Muhammad bin Salman went straight to GHQ from the airbase and met General Raheel Sharif.

General Sharif said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share exemplary relations and any threat posed at Saudi Arabia will meet a strong reaction from Pakistan.

Saudi Defence Minister said that Pakistan is highly important for Saudi Arabia and it appreciates Pakistan’s efforts for ensuring regional security. He said that Saudi Arabia puts Pakistan and its army in high esteem. He announced support for Pakistan in all matters.

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