By staff and agency

Pakistan FM says Iran wants de-escalation in region

January 18, 2020 - 20:13

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that Iran wants de-escalation in the region.

According to AFP, he said that the Iranians “did not want to escalate things.”

He met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, five days after seeing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Qureshi said he understood that the Iranians "did not want to escalate things."

"They don't want war, they don't want further bloodshed," Qureshi told reporters in Washington.

The United States on January 3 assassinated Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani, in a drone strike as he visited Baghdad. On January 8, Iran responded with missile strikes on U.S. forces in Iraq.

Qureshi also said that the Iranian officials also signaled a willingness to ease tensions with Arab neighbors.

The Iranians “highlighted the issues, the differences, they have had with other important countries in the region,” he said.

“They said they are willing to engage at any level and in any format,” Qureshi said.

Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, visited Riyadh in December 2019 as part of continued efforts to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

This was his fourth visit to Saudi Arabia since May 2019.

Khan visited Tehran on October 13, 2019 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 Trump’s anti-Iran moves.

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

Qureshi has said that Iran and Saudi Arabia should bridge differences.

In an interview with Aaj News in October, Qureshi said that Pakistan will continue efforts in line with reducing tension in Iran-Saudi relations.

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

Last October the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tehran is ready for talks with Saudi Arabia with or without a mediator.

During a joint press conference with Khan in Tehran on October 13, 2019, 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”.

NA/PA

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