By staff and agency

UN chief welcomes Pakistan’s initiative to ease Iran-Saudi tension

October 16, 2019

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said that Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, welcomes Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to de-escalate tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Dujarric told reporters at the regular noon briefing in New York that the UN chief welcomes any such effort “as a matter of principle”, Associated Press of Pakistan reported on Tuesday.

Khan visited Tehran on Sunday to “facilitate” possible dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia which have been at loggerheads over a number of issues including the Saudi war on Yemen and Riyadh’s support for anti-Iran moves.

He met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Khan also visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

The Pakistani prime minister visited Iran as the tension in the region is getting more complicated. On October 11, an Iranian oil tanker was struck by two missiles in the Red Sea, 60 miles away from Saudi coastlines.

Khan has said that he is making an effort to reduce tension between Tehran and Riyadh. Prior to the Sunday visit to Tehran, he held talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders in Riyadh as well as Rouhani at the United Nations in September.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Iran and Saudi Arabia should bridge differences.

In an interview with Aaj News, Qureshi said that Pakistan will continue efforts in line with reducing tension in Iran-Saudi Arabia relations, ISNA reported on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tehran is ready for a talk with Saudi Arabia with or without a mediator.

During a joint press conference with Khan in Tehran on Sunday, Rouhani, without mentioning Saudi Arabia, suggested that Iran will give a positive response to “good intention”.

Rouhani said Iran “welcomes efforts by the Pakistani prime minister to settle tensions in the region” and “restore peace and stability”.

During a separate meeting with Khan, Ayatollah Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution, said that ending the war on Yemen will have positive effects on the Middle East region.

The Leader said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran presented a four-point plan to end the war in Yemen a long time ago and if this war ends in the right way, it can have positive effects on the region.” 

Saudi Arabia started war on Yemen in March 2015 that is still continuing. The war has driven more than 10 million Yemenis to starvation along with other calamities.

Ayatollah Khamenei described peace and security in West Asia as very “important” and expressed regret over certain regional countries’ “destructive” role in supporting terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and causing war and bloodshed in Yemen.

The Leader added, “We have no motivation for animosity with these countries, but they are influenced by the United States and act against the Islamic Republic of Iran in line with the United States’ will.”

NA/PA

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