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Pakistan

Web Desk
January 3, 2020

Pompeo speaks to Gen Bajwa as tensions spike between Iran, US

Pakistan

Web Desk
Fri, Jan 03, 2020

WASHINGTON: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa spoke to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday to discuss recent escalation in the Middle East in light of Iranian top commander Qassem Soleiman's killing by the US.

Pompeo said in a tweet that he spoke to Pakistan's army chief about "U.S. defensive action" to kill the Iranian top general, stating that "our resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities, and partners will not waver."

The Pentagon said US President Donald Trump ordered Soleimani's "killing," after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy. Declaring three days of mourning across the country, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to take "severe revenge" for Soleimani´s death.

In another tweet, Pompeo disclosed he spoke to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well about Soleimani's killing "to protect American lives at stake".

Gen Bajwa urges 'maximum restraint' in telephone call with Pompeo

In a separate tweet, the DG ISPR disclosed the army chief and the US secretary of state discussed the "regional situation including possible implications" after the escalation in the Middle East.

"COAS received telephone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Regional situation including possible implications of recent escalation in Middle East was discussed.

"COAS emphasised need for maximum restraint and constructive engagement by all concerned to de-escalate the situation in broader interest of peace and stability. COAS also reiterated the need for maintaining focus on success of Afghan Peace Process," read the tweeted.

Earlier, Pakistan advised both Washington and Tehran to refrain from taking 'unilateral action' against each other and abide by the UN charter to respect each other's territorial integrity.

"All parties are urged to exercise maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means, in accordance with UN Charter and international law," the statement from Pakistan's foreign office reads.

During his speech at the US Institute of Peace last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned the world that a conflict with Iran would unleash terrorism that will make the world forget about Al-Qaeda.

"I'm not sure if all the countries realise the gravity of the situation. If there's a conflict with Iran, people don't understand. You know, this is not going to be the same as Iraq, this could be much, much, much worse. It will have great consequences for Pakistan," he had said, referring to deteriorating ties between Washington and Tehran.