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Pakistan Adopts Resolution Urging Neutrality In Yemen

Pakistani adviser to the prime minister on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, left, talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on April 8 to discuss the situation in Yemen.

Pakistan's parliament has adopted a resolution on the conflict in Yemen, calling on all factions there to resolve their differences peacefully and "desiring" that Pakistan stay neutral in the conflict.

The unanimous vote followed five days of debate on the crisis in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has carried out two weeks of air strikes to try to put down a rebellion led by Shi'ite Huthis.

Saudi Arabia had placed pressure on its ally, Pakistan, to join the coalition, asking that Islamabad send ships, aircraft and troops. Pakistan, for its part, has pushed for diplomatic efforts to end the crisis and this week held talks with Turkish and Iranian officials.

The fighting in Yemen is seen as destabilizing for the region and a proxy battle between the mostly Sunni, Saudi-led coalition and Iran, which is suspected of aiding the Huthi fighters.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif met on April 9 in Pakistan with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Earlier this week, the United States warned Iran over its alleged support for Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington knew Tehran is aiding the rebels in Yemen, saying, "There are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a halt in the campaign of air strikes in Yemen, calling it an act of "aggression."

The Huthi rebels have taken large parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa. Their drive into the key seaport of Aden forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Iran, which denies allegations it is providing military aid to the Huthi fighters, says it has dispatched a navy destroyer and another vessel to the Gulf of Aden.

Meanwhile, the United Nations on April 10 called for an immediate "humanitarian pause" of at least a few hours each day in Yemen to allow desperately needed aid to enter the country.

The announcement followed the first successful delivery of aid to the stricken country by air to Sanaa.

The fighting has killed more than 600 people and driven more than 100,000 from their homes, leading aid organizations to warn of a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP and AP