Pakistan denies intent to arm Syria insurgents

Pakistan denies intent to arm Syria insurgents
Thu Feb 27, 2014 22:32:39

Pakistan has denied reports of the country’s plans to send weapons to foreign-backed Syrian insurgents, amid press accounts that Saudi Arabia is holding talks with it about arming the militants.

Islamabad’s denial on Thursday came after a Saudi source stated on Sunday that Riyadh was seeking Pakistani anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets for the anti-Damascus insurgents in its intrusive bid to facilitate the overthrow of the government of President Bashar Assad, Lebanon-based newspaper, The Daily Star, reported.

"The reports about arms supply to Syria are totally baseless," said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs.

Washington, however, is opposed to arming the mostly al-Qaeda-linked insurgents with such weapons, fearing that they may end up in the hands of extremist forces among the militant groups.

This is while Syrian opposition figures assert that the recent failure of the Geneva II peace talks seems to have led Washington to soften its opposition on arming the Syria insurgents with such armaments.

The report further cites a Saudi source as saying that Pakistan’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif paid a visit to Riyadh earlier this month and met with the Saudi regime’s First Prime Minister and Defense Minister Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz.

Prince Salman himself last week led a large delegation to Pakistan, shortly after Saudi Arabia's top diplomat Prince Saud al-Faisal visited the South Asian country, a key ally.

Syria has been the scene of deadly violence since 2011. Over 130,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the unrest.

The Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria, according to reports.


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