Pakistan is examining a request from Saudi Arabia to join a coalition to defend Yemen’s president against advancing rebels threatening his stronghold in Aden, Islamabad said Thursday.
The Gulf kingdom has begun air strikes against Shiite Huthi rebels and the Saudi ambassador in Washington said a coalition of 10 countries, including Pakistan, was being formed to protect the Yemeni government.
Yemen is teetering on the brink of civil war as turmoil has grown since Huthis launched a power grab in February.
Islamabad has longstanding close ties to Saudi Arabia, and foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said the kingdom had asked Pakistan to join the coalition.
“I can confirm we have been contacted by Saudi Arabia in this regard. The matter is being examined. That’s all I have to say at the moment,” she told a regular press briefing.
Aslam said no decision had been taken yet on whether to close the Pakistani embassy in Sanaa.
The official Saudi Press Agency said earlier that Pakistan, along with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, had all “expressed desire to participate in the operation”.
Egypt and Jordan have confirmed they will join Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the coalition.
Pakistan’s armed forces have been waging a major campaign against militant strongholds in the country’s tribal northwest since last June.