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Efforts to sell small arms and jets to S. Arabia underway: Aziz

Published Apr 02, 2014 02:36pm
— File photo by Reuters
— File photo by Reuters

Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said in an interview with the BBC that Pakistan was making efforts to sell small arms and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia while also maintaining a balance between its ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

When asked if Pakistan would supply arms to Syria, Aziz said at this point in time there was no Syria-specific agreement, adding that Pakistan was making efforts to sell small arms and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

The prime minister's adviser said that like any country which with a flourishing arms industry, Pakistan was trying to sell its arms and there was nothing dubious about Saudi Arabia's interest in purchase weapons from Pakistan.

He further reiterated the government's claim of Pakistan's neutral stance on the Syria issue.

On Iran and Saudi Arabia, Aziz said Pakistan wanted to restore the balance of relations with the two countries which he said had been disturbed during the past five years.

Comparing the current state of Pakistan's relations with other countries with that in the past, he said not a single Saudi minister had visited the country during the tenure of the previous government but after the coming of Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) into power, the government and military leadership of both countries had exchanged visits.

He further added that he hoped Prime Minister Sharif would visit Iran in May or June this year in line with promoting peace in the region.

Speculation had been rife in Pakistan after a joint Pakistan-Saudi declaration in February called for the “formation of a transitional governing body” with full executive powers as part of a solution to the bloody Syrian civil war.

The move was criticised by the opposition in the National Assembly and even though the government dispelled the impression, it failed to convince the opposition.

The un-official revelation of $1.5bn aid from Saudi Arabia, following a climb in the Rupee value against the dollar, raised further questions, regarding Pakistan's stance.

Again, the opposition rejected the government's claim that the donation was only 'a gift from friends' and not a loan nor given in return of any services,