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Web Desk
October 13, 2019

PM Imran terms his consultations with Rouhani very encouraging


Web Desk
Sun, Oct 13, 2019

PM Imran holds ‘wide-ranging consultations’ with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday reiterated that Pakistan was ready to act as facilitator between the brotherly Muslim countries, Iran and Saudi Arabia to sort out their differences through dialogue.

Addressing a joint press stakeout along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the prime minister said in the past, Pakistan had hosted Saudi Arabia and Iran and again willing to facilitate the brotherly countries to iron out their differences.

“The issue is complex one but it is possible to sort out differences through dialogue,” he emphasised.

The prime minister also explained that his trip to Iran would be followed with a visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday which was solely ‘Pakistan’s initiative’ as they were not asked by anyone to undertake such trip.

He also made it clear that Pakistan’s role would be a facilitator and not a mediator.

He stressed that it was imperative for everyone not to allow any conflict to take place in the region as he termed certain vested interests which wanted to flare up the tensions in the region.

The prime minister terming his consultations with the Iranian president as very encouraging, said that he would go to Saudi Arabia with a positive mind.

He said Pakistan had deep rooted bilateral brotherly ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia was Pakistan’s closest friend as it had always helped them when they were in need.

So for these reasons, he said, nobody wanted a conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The issue was recognized as a complex one, but he felt that it could be resolved through dialogue, he expressed his optimism.

The prime minister said a conflict between the two countries would not just affect the whole region but also affect the developing countries as it would increase poverty in the world as the cost of oil would shoot up and purchase of expensive oil could lead to further spending.

He said all the developing countries had the same point of views, only the vested interests wanted this conflict to take place.

The prime minister further said that during his visit to New York, US President Donald Trump spoke to him and asked him to facilitate dialogue with Iran.

Expressing his resolve, the prime minister assured the Iranian leadership that they would do whatever they could to facilitate US-Iran dialogue, so that the sanctions could be lifted and agreement over the nuclear deal be signed.

Earlier, Imran Khan held ‘wide-ranging consultations’ with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, their second meeting in a month.

The PM arrived in Tehran on a day-long official visit  to discuss Gulf security issues with the Iranian leadership.

“Pakistan attaches high importance to bilateral ties with Iran and is willing to play its role towards strengthening peace and stability in the region, PM Imran was quoted as saying by the official Twitter handle of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari are accompanying the prime minister.

During the visit, PM Imran will also have meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei.

Besides issues relating to peace and security in the Gulf, bilateral matters and important regional developments will be discussed during the prime minister's visit to the country.

This is 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 UNGA session in New York last month.

After the Iran visit, the prime minister will also pay a visit to Saudi Arabia as part of his efforts to bridge differences between Tehran and Riyadh.

In recent days, there have been positive signals from both capitals for ironing out differences. Islamabad enjoys close relations with the two Muslim nations.

A day earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed efforts for mediation with Saudi Arabia.

"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 had 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."