Saudi Arabia ready to offer ‘good offices’ to ease India-Pakistan tensions

NEW DELHI: In a recent interview to an Indian publication, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud said the Kingdom is ready to provide its “good offices” to resolve outstanding issues between India and Pakistan. 

Saud said Riyadh was ready to mediate between Islamabad and New Delhi, however, adding that it is up to both countries to decide the time for that. 

“We will always provide our good offices when we can, but it’s up to India and Pakistan to decide when the time is right,” he said. 

The minister also spoke about the Afghan government, saying that there is a lot the international community can do to safeguard the rights of women. 

“Engagement, setting a good example, cooperation and coordination can help to encourage actors to go in the right direction,” he said of the Taliban. 

When asked whether the Kingdom thinks it will withhold aid from the Taliban till the group does not become “moderate when it comes to their stand on women’s education, terrorism and so on”, Saud said the aid is meant for the people of Afghanistan. 

“Therefore, our position is that aid should continue and should not be affected by these situations,” he said. 

He said it was important that the Taliban take into consideration the international community’s concerns and not let the country become a hub for militants and terrorists. 

“The Taliban have a responsibility to exercise good judgment and good governance, to be inclusive, to bring in all people in Afghanistan, and to forge a path that can lead to stability, security and prosperity,” he said. 

Tensions have been high between India and Pakistan ever since New Delhi rushed through a presidential decree to abolish special status granted to occupied Kashmir under the constitution.

Pakistan reacted sharply to the move, suspending bilateral ties with India. Since then, the two countries have often traded barbs over various issues with each other and traded fire frequently across the Line of Control (LoC).