Sharif advice to Iran, Saudia: make peace not war

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TEHRAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif being received by meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. INP PHOTO
  • Pakistani PM meets Iranian president, offers Pakistan’s role as facilitator in bringing both countries to talks table
  • Calls for appointing focal person to take reconciliation process forward
  • Says Iran and Saudi Arabia don’t consider each other as enemies, both countries have misunderstanding which could be resolved through dialogue

 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Saudi Arabia and Iran do not consider each other as enemies but there are some misunderstandings and contentious issues between the two countries which should be resolved through bilateral consultations in a peaceful manner.

He also offered Pakistan’s role as a facilitator in bringing both countries to a dialogue table for resolving the standoff that began after the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric, which led to the eruption of protests across the world.

Talking to reporters after his meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, PM Nawaz said that Pakistan has conveyed Saudi Arabia’s concerns to Iran, and will pass on Iran’s concerns to Saudi Arabia. He refused to disclose the concerns expressed by both countries, saying that he cannot speak about the concerns in the prevailing circumstances.

When asked whether Saudi Arabia and Iran have any intention to sit together, the PM said Pakistan has proposed to present itself as a host for any such interaction.

Nawaz said that he is satisfied with the trips undertaken by the Pakistani civilian and military leadership to the two brotherly countries with the mission to defuse tensions.

“I felt encouraged to have taken a trip to Saudi Arabia yesterday (Monday),” he said, adding that he had a similar feeling after meeting with the Iranian leadership. He added that Pakistan and Iran have agreed to appoint a focal person for taking the process of reconciliation forward while Saudi Arabia will also be asked to do the same.

The premier said that Saudi Arabia had appreciated Pakistan’s stance and role in the Saudi-Iran standoff and “today Iran has also welcomed our initiative”.

Nawaz said that Pakistan had brokered talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in 1997 on the sidelines of a summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and “we should take pride in playing a role of a mediator this time as well”. He said Pakistan took up the mission of defusing Saudi-Iran tension of its own accord.

“We are fighting a common enemy – terrorism. Together we can fight and defeat this menace. It cannot be fought separately,” PM Nawaz said, adding that the Saudi and Iranian leaderships are well aware of this need.

Earlier, PM Nawaz held a meeting with Iranian President Rouhani at the presidential palace. Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was also present in the meeting.

Later, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum set to be held on January 20 to 23 in Davos.

During his stay in Switzerland, PM Sharif will be meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

COAS MEETING WITH IRANIAN DEFENCE MINISTER:

A meeting was also held between Gen Raheel and Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan during which matters of regional security came under discussion.

The COAS reiterated that Pakistan considered Iran an important neighbour and the people of Pakistan had great affinity with the people of Iran.

He asserted that terrorism was a global threat, which had the potential of destabalising the region and requires a coordinated response.

The COAS also met Iran’s Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani who is also military adviser to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenai.

According the ISPR, matters related to regional security were discussed during the meeting.

The COAS said regional security and stability is paramount and stressed the need for opening up of communication channels between Iran and KSA to defuse tension.

Gen Raheel said in order to counter emerging threats, greater Muslim unity is need of the hour. “Menace of terrorism can only be addressed through coordinated response,” he added.

Earlier in Saudi Arabia, the premier expressed deep concern over the recent escalation of tensions between the two nations, while calling for a resolution of differences through peaceful means in the larger interest of the Muslim population.

The prime minister recalled Pakistan’s consistent policy of promoting brotherhood among the brother states of the OIC.

During the meeting, both sides exchanged views on various facets of enduring cooperation with regard to the Saudi initiative of formation of the coalition of Islamic countries against terrorism.

With Pakistan embroiled in its own fight against terrorism, the sudden spike in rivalry between its two friendly countries put additional strains on the civil and military leadership.

Analysts regard the leadership’s diplomatic initiative a wise step to help Riyadh and Tehran prevent the current tensions from taking a hazardous turn which could endanger peace of the entire region.

Moreover, with successful culmination of talks between big powers and Iran over the latter’s nuclear issue, Pakistan certainly eyes certain economic benefits from Tehran re-entering world trade. “With Iran re-joining the world trade, Pakistan can look forward to meeting its energy needs from across the border by completing the pending gas pipeline,” remarked an analyst.

4 COMMENTS

  1. 'Charity begins at home'! What Pak has been doing with the neighbors? rattling nukes and continuing with the terror acts. You think anyone would take you seriously?

    • Get your house in order before going around advising others on the peace process! 'Don't do to others that you don't want others to do'.

  2. Hello Pervez we tring to bring our house in order just do not know what u talking about pak will do what is his best interest do not take advise people like u who need person medical help

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