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January 9, 2020

Pakistan urges UNSC, world capitals to help reduce US-Iran tension

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January 9, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday reached out to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and pushed international capitals to take note of the recent developments, and help reduce tensions, as Iran carried out missile attacks on US bases in Iraq, in retaliation for the US attack, which took out Iranian General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.

"Such matters need to be resolved through dialogue. The UN Security Council and the international community need to play a role in resolving tensions in the region," said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. “This region simply cannot afford another war,” he said.

The minister pointed out that rising tensions in the region due to the situation in the Middle East was not in anyone's interest, adding that the region could not afford a war. "The region cannot afford war. It is not in anyone's interest and will impact the global economy," Qureshi said, according to a statement from the Foreign Office.

Qureshi added: "The ones who were attacked are still assessing the damage. Initial reports suggest that there has been no loss of human life." The Foreign Office cautioned Pakistanis inside Iraq and said that in view of recent developments and prevailing security situation in the region, Pakistani nationals are advisedto exercise maximum caution while planning visit to Iraq at this point. “Those already in Iraq are advised to remain in close contact with Pakistan Embassy in Baghdad,” said the Foreign Office. India on Wednesday decided to temporarily reroute flights over Iran.

The minister said that negotiations should be given a chance. “Not only Pakistan but a large section of the United States does not want the American troops to be part of another war, similar to the sentiments of Pakistan,” he said. "There is still a large majority in the US which is not in favour of war and does not want to thrust the US army into the frontlines," he said.

He said the United States should learn lessons from its policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. He apprehended that any conflict between the United States and Iran will negatively affect the Afghan peace process. Commenting on Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's recent statement, Qureshi said it reflected Iran's intent to not escalate tensions.

"The statement reflected the seriousness of the situation and showed restraint. The US should also exercise caution,” he said. The minister added he had been in touch with his counterparts in the region. "We are also endeavouring to ensure that tensions in the region remain in check," he said.

For the time being, Qureshi said, it was premature to say anything for certain because of the precarious situation. “However, Pakistan does not want tensions to escalate. This region cannot witness yet another war," he added.