ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan left for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in a bid to reduce tensions between Tehran and Riyadh.
“The prime minister will confer with the Saudi leadership in light of his recent consultations with other leaders. Bilateral ties and other regional developments would also form part of the discussions,” a statement by the Foreign Office said.
The statement added, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound in a fraternal relationship marked by mutual trust and understanding, close cooperation and an abiding tradition of supporting each other.
This would be PM Imran’s third visit to Saudi Arabia this year. His earlier visits were in May and September 2019. From the Saudi side, HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a state visit to Pakistan in February 2019.
On Sunday the prime minister travelled to Iran where he reiterated that Pakistan was ready to act as a facilitate between Iran and Saudi Arabia so that the two countries can resolve differences through dialogue.
PM Imran, during a joint news conference with President Hassan Rouhani, has said, “Pakistan does not want conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia…I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh…I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president.”
Pakistan had hosted Saudi Arabia and Iran and was again willing to facilitate them again to iron out their differences, he said, adding, “the issue is complex one but it is possible to sort out differences through dialogue.”
The prime minister also made it clear that Pakistan’s role would be a facilitator and not a mediator.
The premier also met Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei during his day-long visit.
PM Khan, during his meeting with Khamenei, noted that Pakistan would do whatever was possible to help lift the sanctions on Iran and set up the deal on a nuclear agreement.
Last month, the premier had held a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly session in New York. He said both the United States and Saudi Arabia had asked him to mediate with Iran to defuse tensions in the Gulf.
There have been a spate of still-unexplained attacks on oil shipping in and around the vital seaway involving Iran and Western powers, as well as drone attacks on the Saudi oil installations. Washington has accused Iran of attacking the vessels with mines as well as of being behind the drone assault — a charge Tehran strongly denies.