Pakistan PM to visit Iran Saturday

October 11, 2019

TEHRAN – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan plans to start on a trip for mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, visiting Iran on Saturday.

According to Indo-Asian News Service, Khan will first travel to Iran on a one-day visit. He is scheduled to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday. 

Khan will leave Iran for Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing on Thursday, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal confirmed Khan’s trip.

“The visits of the prime minister to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are on the cards,” he said without giving dates for the trip.

“I will update you as and when things unfold,” he added.

The Pakistani prime minister is visiting Iran as the tension in the region is getting more complicated. On Friday morning, an Iranian oil tanker was struck by two missiles in the Red Sea, 60 miles away from Saudi coastlines. 

Riyadh and the United States had blamed Iran for the September 14 drone attacks on the Saudi oil facilities without presenting a substantial evidence. Yemen, which is under attack by the Saud-led coalition, had taken responsibility for the attack.

Khan had said that he was making an effort to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh. He held talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders in Riyadh, as well as Rouhani at the United Nations in September.

Rouhani warned world leaders on September 25 at the UN General Assembly that “the Persian Gulf region is on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire.”

Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin has said that the Middle East needs dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia without a pre-condition.

In an interview with Al Akhbar daily, Zasypkin criticized the United States’ policies in the region and said that Washington does not respect international law and the countries’ sovereignty, ISNA reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with Al Jazeera published on October 1, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that Tehran is open to starting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region.

“An Iranian-Saudi dialogue could solve many of the region’s security and political problems,” Larijani predicted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on September 30 that he believes Saudi Arabia is looking to de-escalate tensions with Iran.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, he said, “Everybody is open to dialogue.”

“Iran says [it is] willing to negotiate if sanctions are lifted; the U.S. [also] asks for dialogue ... neither does Saudi Arabia close the door for dialogue,” Abdul Mahdi said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes program aired on September 29 that he  preferred a peaceful resolution with Iran, describing it as “much better than the military” option.

NA/PA

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