Iran appreciates Pakistan’s efforts to reduce tension in Gulf region

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, where he arrived earlier today on a one-day official trip.

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Addressing a joint press conference with the Iranian president, PM Imran said, “War between Saudi Arabia and Iran should never happen. The issue is complex but can be resolved through dialogue”.

PM Khan said, “Pakistan does not want any conflict in the region.”

Saudi Arabia was one of the closest friends of Pakistan and Riyadh had always helped us in all times of need, added the premier. Highlighting that Pakistan does not want any conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia while recognising that it was a complex and complicated issue.

He said, “This visit to Iran and the visit which I will undertake to Saudia Arabia on Tuesday, is a Pakistan led initiative. I will go with a positive mind to Saudia, Pakistan will play the role of a facilitator.”

Pakistan was willing to host both countries in Islamabad, he added.

Iranian president appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to de-escalate the situation in the region.

Both leaders held “wide-ranging consultations” during the meeting, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s official Twitter account said.

“Pakistan attaches high importance to bilateral ties with Iran,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by the PTI. “Pakistan is willing to play its role towards strengthening peace and stability in the region.”

PM Khan arrived in Tehran today as part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif received the prime minister at the airport.

The premier during his visit would meet with the Iranian leadership, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and President Dr Hassan Rouhani during his visit.

The prime minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari.

This will be the prime minister’s second visit to Iran this year.

The prime minister also had a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly session in New York last month.

PM Khan last month said that both the United States and Saudi Arabia had asked him to mediate with Iran to defuse tensions in the Gulf.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed efforts for mediation with Saudi Arabia ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the country.

“We’ve always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbor. We’re going to be here together permanently,” Zarif said in an interview with TRT World.

“We don’t have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries,” Zarif noted.

When asked about PM Imran’s upcoming visit to Tehran, Zarif said, “We’ve never rejected any intermediary… We’ve always been open to mediation, and we’ve always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbors.”

The Foreign Office on Thursday said PM Imran was likely to visit Saudi Arabia and Iran, weeks after Islamabad said Washington had asked it to mediate with Tehran.

“The possibility of a visit of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia and Iran is on the cards,” Foreign Office Spokesman said last week.

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