ISLAMABAD - After reports emerged that Pakistan Army is sending a brigade to shore up the vulnerable southern borders of Saudi Arabia against Houthi attacks, Pakistan on Monday said that Islamabad supported the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen and will continue to extend all possible assistance for restoration of complete peace and stability in that country.

At a meeting here with Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdulmalik Abdul Jalil Al Mekhlafi – who is also his country’s Foreign Minister, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan appreciated the efforts of the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabu Mansour Al-Hadi towards restoration of peace, harmony and stability in the country. Mekhlafi is on a two-day visit to Pakistan.

“He (Aziz) also noted with satisfaction that these efforts had acquired control of over 80 percent territory of Yemen, hoping that with the international support, the situation in remaining parts of the country would also be brought under control,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Aziz said that the menace of terrorism posed a common threat in the region and could only be defeated through coordinated efforts by all countries.

Earlier, Middle East Eye reported that Pakistan will send combat troops to protect Saudi Arabia’s borders from attacks by Houthis in Yemen. The report said that the Pakistan brigade will remain inside the Saudi territory and will not be used beyond the borders.

The development comes after a visit by Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to Saudi Arabia in December last year. Gen Bajwa had met Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Parliament — fearing a sectarian backlash (back) in the country — had rejected a request by the Saudi King for Islamabad to join a coalition to fight the Yemeni Houthis.

During the meeting with Mekhlafi, Aziz underlined the close coordination Pakistan and Yemen had maintained at the bilateral and multilateral levels in various areas.

The adviser particularly thanked the Yemen government for their assistance in the recent release of seven Pakistani prisoners held in Yemeni jails.

“Progress concerning early release of the three remaining Pakistani prisoners in Yemen and 12 Yemeni prisoners in Pakistan, who have completed their sentences, was also reviewed,” said the foreign ministry.

Both sides noted that over 300 Yemeni students studying in various universities in Pakistan under the Pakistan Technical Assistance Programme provide a strong bond to further strengthen friendship between the two countries, it said.

The adviser said that Pakistan would be happy to continue this important programme and provide more facilities to new students in the coming years.

Mekhlafi thanked Pakistan for continued political support and economic assistance to Yemen. “He also briefed the adviser about the current situation in Yemen, the efforts by the government of Yemen to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation rather than conflict, as well as the success achieved so far in subduing the threat posed by terrorist networks in the country,” the statement said.

“Issues related to the serious humanitarian situation in Yemen, suffering from serious food shortages anywhere in the world, were also discussed. He also highlighted the efforts being undertaken by the government to address the multiple security, political and economic challenges confronting Yemen,” it said. Bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Yemen in various areas was also reviewed, the foreign minister said.

Meanwhile, Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson said that Pakistan and Australian should work together for peace.

In a message on the Commonwealth Day 2017 – celebrated on Monday - the Australian high commissioner said: “As fellow Commonwealth countries, Pakistan and Australia should work to promote the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, democracy and equality and to celebrate the rich diversity of our two countries.”