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Wednesday , October 16 2019

Saudi and UAE in bid to defuse Kashmir tensions

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sent their top diplomats to Pakistan on Wednesday to help Islamabad defuse tensions with India over the disputed Kashmir region.

Anti-India sentiment has grown in Pakistan since New Delhi moved to strip the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir of its limited autonomy on Aug 5. Authorities imposed a sweeping military curfew that’s still in place, and cut off residents from all communication and the internet.

Mobile phone services have yet to be restored. Gulf Arab countries have kept mostly silent on the issue, underpinned by more than $100 billion in annual trade with India that makes it one of the Arabian Peninsula’s most prized economic partners.

In a rare move, a single aircraft carried the two Arab diplomats – Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan – to Islamabad in what Pakistani authorities said was a symbolic show of unity.

The two diplomats were to hold talks with their Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who said Tuesday that the visit followed appeals from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. They were also set to meet with Khan and the country’s army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. (AP)

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