FM Qureshi arrives in Riyadh to discuss regional security situation with Saudi counterpart

On the second leg of his trip, Qureshi arrived in Saudi Arabia later in the day.

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The foreign minister had embarked on a two-nation visit to Tehran and Riyadh on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan after recent developments that followed the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike.

Qureshi, who called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif separately, had a wide-ranging exchange of views on recent developments in the region. Pakistan-Iran relations were also discussed.

Upon his departure for Riyadh, Qureshi was seen off at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport by Iranian foreign ministry’s assistant minister (West Asia) Mohammad Mousavi, chargé d’affaires at Pakistan’s embassy in Tehran Syed Fawad Sher and other officers.

He was received upon his arrival at Riyadh airport by the Saudi foreign ministry’s deputy minister of protocol, Azamul Qain, Pakistan’s ambassador to the kingdom Raza Ali Ejaz and other senior officials from the Pakistan embassy.

In Riyadh, Qureshi will meet his Saudi counterpart to discuss the regional security situation and exchange views on other wide-ranging issues.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said that Pakistan will not join any war in the region but will continue to play a vibrant and positive role for establishment of lasting peace.

Qureshi made the remarks late on Sunday when he met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran amid heightened tensions in the Middle East following the assassination of a top Iranian general earlier this month.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have spiked in recent weeks after the US killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad. Iran retaliated by targeting a US base in Iraq.

Following the developments, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed Qureshi to meet with Iranian and Saudi leaders to underscore the need for immediate and collective efforts for a peaceful resolution of disputes.

In his meeting with the Iranian president, FM Qureshi called for “using the diplomatic means” to reduce the tension in the region and “resolve outstanding issues amicably and peacefully”.

During the meeting, which encompassed the US-Iran tension, regional peace and the multifaceted Pak-Iran ties, the foreign minister said both the countries enjoyed “deep historic, religious, cultural brotherhood”.

In reference to recent statements made by the Iranian leadership, the foreign minister appreciated the restraint shown by Tehran and said that the region could not afford any more tension or confrontation.

“Pakistan will not join any war in the region; however, it will continue playing a vibrant and positive role for establishment of peace in the region,” the minister told Rouhani.

FM Qureshi also thanked Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani for supporting Pakistan and raising their voice against the Indian atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir.

FM Qureshi also thanked Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani for supporting Pakistan and raising their voice against the Indian atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Appreciating the remarks of Qureshi, Rouhani lauded the peace building efforts by Pakistan and clarified that Iran did not want to increase the tensions in the region.

In a message posted on Twitter early Monday, FM Qureshi said that he had held a constructive and positive meeting with the Iranian President on Sunday in which he reiterated the need to deescalate tensions.

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