Pakistan offers to assist talks between Iran, Saudi Arabia


–PM says Islamabad will play role of facilitator rather than mediator in this ‘complex’ issue, calls offer Pakistan’s ‘own initiative’ 

–Rouhani welcomes tour, says end of Yemen conflict will bolster chances for regional peace 

TEHRAN: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday offered assistance to kickstart talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran talks during his visit to Tehran, saying issues between the countries should be resolved through political means and dialogue for regional security and stability.

Addressing a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a meeting in Tehran on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his visit was aimed at reducing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

He said that Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the war on terror, adding neighbouring Afghanistan also suffered badly in the ongoing conflict.

“The main reason I came here with my delegation is that we do not want conflict in the region. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years in the ‘war on terror’, Afghanistan is still suffering, and there is terrible devastation in Syria — we do not want another conflict in this part of the world,” PM Imran said.

The prime minister said that Saudi Arabia is one of the closest friends of Pakistan and Riyadh has always helped us in all times of need.

He emphasised that Pakistan does not want any conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, recognising that it was a “complex and complicated issue”. The prime minister said that he strongly believed that any issue could be resolved through dialogue and talks.

He said that any new conflict in the region could have far reaching implications.

The prime minister pointed out that a conflict in the Gulf region could lead to an increase in oil prices and more poverty for the developing countries.

He claimed that “some powers wanted a conflict” between Iran and Saudi Arabia. PM Imran said that this was purely his own initiative to come to Tehran and that no one asked Pakistan to do this.

He said that he will visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday with a “positive state of mind and will emphasise the importance of dialogue between the two countries to resolve differences”.

He said that Pakistan will play the role of facilitator rather than mediator in sorting out the differences between the two brotherly Muslim countries. The prime minister said that during his recent meeting with President Donald Trump, he was asked to do something on dialogue with Iran.

The prime minister appreciated Iran for extending support to people of occupied Kashmir. He said that more than eight million Kashmiris were under curfew for over two months.

He said that the Indian authorities imposed a total communication blockade in occupied Kashmir and a human disaster was unfolding in the region.

Earlier, President Hassan Rouhani said that Pakistan and Iran are brotherly Muslim countries and have “deep rooted friendship”. He expressed hope that Pakistan and Iran could work together for regional peace.

Rouhani said that they also discussed the developments in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman which were “very critical regions”. He said that the meeting emphasised taking steps to strengthen peace and security in the region.

The Iranian president said that he conveyed the concerns of Iran to PM Imran on developments taking place in the region and also the attack on Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea on Friday.

He added that an investigation will be launched to establish the facts on who was behind this attack. He also said that his country thinks that such acts can create instability and insecurity in the region when they are not dealt with properly.

He warned that Iran would respond to any threats, saying it was a “big mistake” to think it would not do so.

Rouhani said that both leaders had a consensus that the key to establishing peace in the region is to stop the war in Yemen. The Iranian president emphasised that any goodwill gesture will be responded by goodwill gesture and deeds.

He said that he and PM Imran also discussed the US sanctions, after a nuclear deal was scrapped by President Donald Trump, on Iran and emphasised that such sanctions constitute “economic terrorism”.

Rouhani added that they also discussed that how Iranian nuclear deal could be returned to its previous position. He said that the US should return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and lift the sanctions on Iran.

He appreciated the prime minister’s visit to Iran for discussing a variety of issues.

He expressed optimism that the visit of the premier and his accompanying delegation would have a positive outcome for the whole region and beyond.

The Iranian president also hosted a luncheon in the visiting premier’s honour. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistan Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari and other officials were also present on the occasion.


PM Imran also called on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei during his one-day visit to the Islamic Republic.

The premier thanked the supreme leader for support to the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) for their right of self-determination, said a statement posted on Government of Pakistan’s Twitter account.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Muslim Ummah faces numerous challenges internally and from the outside. It is important to articulate a message of unity and solidarity among the Muslim nations,” the statement said.