ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar received on Thursday a sudden “invitation” from Riyadh for “consultations.”
The invitation delivered by Saudi Ambassador Abdul Aziz Bin Ibrahim Bin Salih Al Ghadeer on behalf of Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had signs of urgency as it asked Khar to visit Riyadh “at her earliest convenience.”
Although a statement issued by the Foreign Office did not mention the date of her visit, it is understood that she would be proceeding to Saudi Arabia soon.
“She asked the ambassador to convey her best wishes to the Saudi Foreign Minister, adding that she was eagerly looking forward to her meeting with His Royal Highness,” the FM was quoted by the FO statement as having told the Saudi envoy.
A source said the Saudi foreign minister wanted to have “consultations with Khar” on developments in the region, but did not specify the issues likely to be taken up.
The sudden invitation came in the wake of rapidly changing situation in Syria particularly after Iran announced over the weekend its peace plan for the Syrian crisis. Saudis are said to be eyeing an opportunity in Tehran’s six-point plan.
The step-by-step plan announced by Iran envisaging elections in Syria ultimately leading to change in leadership is being interpreted in Riyadh as indication of a softening of Iran’s position on Syria.
Russia, like Iran, too has been giving mixed signals over Syria.
Saudis at the same time are sitting uneasy over the progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the challenging project which Iran has agreed to fund.
Afghanistan has always been another area of key interest to Saudi Arabia.