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India


De-escalation: Saudi Arab 'does not want to mediate' unless invited by India & Pak

De-escalation: Saudi Arab 'does not want to mediate' unless invited by India & Pak

By Nirendra Dev

New Delhi, Feb 20 (UNI) Notwithstanding its Joint Statement with Pakistan and also a veiled reference earlier that Saudi Arabia would like 'de-escalation' of tension between India and Pakistan, it is understood that Riyadh does not want to be seen 'interfering' between two Asian neighbours.

At the three-level talks held between two sides on Wednesday - one on one between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, restricted bilateral between two sides and later the delegation level talks, it was emphasised that the Saudi side does not want to involve in conflicts and tension and "without being invited" by New Delhi and Islamabad.

There was veiled reference to the need for 'de-escalation' between India and Pakistan especially aftermath Pulwama attack, but feeling the 'anguish' of Indian side, no one apparently wanted to push it further, diplomatic sources told UNI.

At the media briefing after the talks, answering questions whether there was any offer of mediation from the Saudi crown prince as Riyadh had said it was in favour of de-escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, Secretary (Economic Relations) in MEA TS Tirumurti was categorical in stating -"no mediation has been offered".

"The meetings went on in calm and good atmosphere. Indian officials were convinced that Saudis in general believed that those who committed the terror act on February 14 on Pulwama must be tried under law and brought to justice," an informed source later said.

Officials suggested Saudis also readily seem to endorse that 'anyone who supports and indulges in terrorism' must be named and hence get listed by the United Nations.

In this context, they readily agreed to demand for UN sanctions against the terrorists and also the respective organisations.

"This is for comprehensive sanctioning of not only the terrorists but also the terror organisations by the UN. So it is both...because we have had a couple of anomalies and that is why it was important for us to emphasize the fact that is not just the terror organisations ...it is also important for the terrorists also to be sanctioned....and that is something they (Saudi side) have completely agreed," Mr Tirumurti said.

During deliberations, Saudi side led by the Crown Prince and its foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir - however sought to underline that both India and Pakistan 'resolve' all issues including the tension and issue in Jammu and Kashmir peacefully.

Indian officials have suggested during last few days that the Saudi authorities "no longer" see and agree with the 'Pakistan narrative' on Kashmir and terrorism.

India has instead maintained that the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince and the parleys there after have taken the ties "to newer and higher levels".

"If the growing ties between Saudi Arabia-Pakistan and Saudi Arabia-India are to be taken into account, let me say that it is Pakistan which is feeling a bit insecure and not us," a senior official has said here.

UNI DEVN SHK2106

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