'Saudi, Iranian heat almost over'

Riyadh agrees to take forward Imran’s peace initiative

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai / Agencies

ISLAMABAD/ Riyadh: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Wednesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s peace initiative to facilitate the brotherly Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia and Iran to sort out their differences through diplomatic means was yielding results.
Addressing a press conference, he expressed his satisfaction that such initiative based upon facilitation on part of Pakistan had helped in dialing back tensions in the Gulf.
He said, “Today, we are feeling satisfaction that the clouds of conflict and war over the region appeared to have been receding. Pakistan’s top objective was to avoid such conflict.”
The foreign minister said during his recent visits, the prime minister held meetings with the Iranian leadership, in a very positive atmosphere.
The Iranian side openly said they did not want tussle with Saudi Arabia and willing to sort out things. They expressed their desire for holding dialogue either direct or through third party facilitation, he added.
Qureshi said with such encouraging response, the prime minister went to Saudi Arabia and held meetings with the Saudi leadership.
The prime minister hadpresented Pakistan’s view over the regional situation and also conveyed Iranian response, the minister said, adding no doubt, it was a complex issue as it had a specific background and in the past, interventions were also made by the world community and Pakistan as well, he added.
Qureshi appearing in an upbeat mode said the outcome of the initiative was positive one as the parties preferred the peaceful diplomatic process, so that the differences could be sorted out.
“It is a good beginning, but at the moment it is not suitable to go into further details as they are deliberating on the way forward,” he added.
Agencies adds: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to remain engaged and consult closely to take forward Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to ensure peace and security in the region.
The agreement came during the Prime Minister’s separate meetings with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh, as per Radio Pakistan.
PM Imran Khan during his meetings with Saudi leadership said Pakistan is ready to facilitate efforts for de-escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
He stressed the importance of avoidance of military conflict and the constructive engagement of all parties.
The premier reaffirmed that Pakistan will always be shoulder-to-shoulder with Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi leadership appreciated the serious efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan towards promoting peace and stability in the region and the impact of this initiative on the de-escalation of tensions.
The officials of the kingdom also reassured its commitment to close ties with Pakistan and reiterated the resolve to deepen bilateral collaboration in all fields including trade, energy, security and defence.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan met King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his day-long visit to Riyadh, as part of his initiative for peace and security in the middle east.
During the separate meetings, PM Imran, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed matters of mutual interest.
The leaders also discussed the ways and means to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.
PM Imran also briefed the Saudi leadership about the latest situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Prime Minister Khan also stressed the need for resolving differences and conflicts through political and diplomatic means for the sake of peace and stability in the region.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant for Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari and senior officials were also present during the meeting.
Earlier, PM Khan reached Riyadh on a day-long visit to Saudi Arabia, where Governor Riyadh Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Minister of State and National Security Advisor Dr Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban welcomed the PM Imran.
This is Premier Imran Khan’s third visit to Saudi Arabia this year. From the Saudi side, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman paid a state visit to Pakistan in February, earlier this year.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani at Saadabad Palace in Tehran.
Speaking at a joint presser alongside the Iranian president, PM Khan said Pakistan is willing to play its role towards strengthening peace and stability in the region.