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Pakistan's Sharif To Intensify Diplomatic Efforts To Resolve Yemen Conflict

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif delivers a policy statement on Yemen in Islamabad on April 13.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says he will "intensify diplomatic efforts" to resolve the Yemen crisis.

His comments came after Gulf states criticized Pakistan for not joining a Saudi Arabia-led air campaign against Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Pakistani lawmakers last week rejected Riyadh’s request for troops and planes to fight the Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen and urged more diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis.

Sharif said the "restoration of President [Abd-Rabbu Mansour] Hadi's government will be an important step forward toward establishing peace in Yemen."

Hadi fled to Riyadh last month and prompted Saudi air strikes against the rebels, who have seized large swaths of Yemen.

Sharif also called on Iran to use its influence to bring the Huthis to the negotiating table.

Sharif last week discussed the issue with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Islamabad.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP