Friday May 24, 2024

Bilawal welcomes Saudi-Iran détente

By Mariana Baabar
March 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday congratulated his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian on resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and said this move was “a testament to the wisdom and farsightedness of the leadership of the two countries”.

Both the foreign ministers talked over phone in which Bilawal, while referring to the March 10 Joint Trilateral Statement by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, commended “the important role played by China in facilitating this process.”

According to the Foreign Office, Bilawal underscored Pakistan’s close fraternal relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“The foreign minister stressed that the renewal of diplomatic ties between the two brotherly countries would serve as a harbinger of peace, prosperity and development for the entire region,” added the Foreign Office.

Taking note of the upward trajectory in Pak-Iran relations, the two foreign ministers expressed their resolve to further intensify cooperation across the entire spectrum of bilateral ties.

Earlier, the Foreign Office stated that Pakistan too like others played a role in bringing Saudi Arabia and Iran together and facilitating a dialogue when both sides met on the sidelines of the OIC meeting held in Islamabad.

Pakistan earlier welcomed the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran and commended China’s visionary leadership in coordinating this historic agreement.

“We believe that this diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond. We hope this normalization would define a template for regional cooperation and harmony,” the Foreign Office commented.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated event, sources have reacted strongly to Indian media reports that Pakistan abstained from attending a military medicine specialist conference organized under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) framework on Tuesday.

Once again, as in the past the reason was objection by India to a Pakistani map which showed Kashmir. India said Kashmir was being depicted incorrectly.

“India’s External Affairs Ministry brought up the issue after Pakistani officials used maps in a prior SCO meeting that depicted Kashmir as a part of their country. This has been a recurring issue that has affected recent SCO meetings. As India prepares to host several official and ministerial meetings leading up to the SCO Summit scheduled for July, this matter is of significant concern,” noted the Hindustan Times.

According to sources, this is an unprecedented move in the SCO context, as India has denied Pakistan’s participation in the SCO Seminar on Armed Forces contributions to Military medicine, healthcare and pandemics, held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In doing so, the sources maintained India has misused its position as the current Chair and acted irresponsibly in denying a sovereign Member State the right to participate in an SCO event.

“Pakistan has rejected Indian excuse that it could deny participation of a Member State from an SCO event on the basis of a flawed understanding about the nature of a disputed territory between Pakistan and India. Jammu and Kashmir remains an internationally-recognized disputed territory, whose final disposition is to be made in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions through a fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations,” added the sources.

In line with its strong commitment to the Shanghai Spirit and the Charter and objectives of the SCO, Pakistan has been participating with a positive and constructive approach in various SCO events being held under current chairmanship of India. “Pakistan has urged India not to exploit its SCO chairmanship to advance its self-serving objectives and politicize the organization,” the sources maintained.