Tehran lauds Pakistan’s efforts for de-escalation

 FM Qureshi arrives in Riyadh after holding talks with Iran’s top leadership

RIYADH: Foreign Minister Shah MehmoodQureshi on Monday held a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal binFarhan Al Saud to discuss the rising US-Iran tensions in the Mideast. During the meeting, detailed regional and global issues of mutual interest were discussed, including the tensions in the Middle East, and the law and order situation in the region. Qureshi said it is imperative that matters be dealt diplomatically and resolved peacefully due in order to moderate the tense situation and to preserve the peace and stability of the region. Pakistan s endeavor is to persuade all sides to show patience and to resolve the dispute through dialogue and negotiation. “We are concerned that it could wrap up the entire region if timely steps are not taken to quell this fire,” he added. Shah MehmoodQureshi also briefed his Saudi counterpart on relations with other foreign ministers in the region to overcome the tense situation. Fortunately, both Iran and the United States have made it clear in their statements that they do not want to escalate further tensions – in these situations it is important for the parties to agree on a dialogue so that matters can be settled peacefully, with understanding. The Foreign Minister apprised his Saudi counterpart of Pakistan’s concerns, adding that tensions were likely to affect the “Afghan Peace Process”, which has entered the crucial stage. Saudi Foreign Minister praised Prime Minister Imran Khan s “peace efforts” to overcome the crisis found in the Middle East and to save the region from further tensions and welcomed the visit and efforts of Qureshi. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan has went on a tour to visit different countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US – to de-escalate the tensions in Mideast following the killing of Iranian military commander QasemSoleimani. According to details, Pakistan has initiated reconciliation efforts to eliminate tensions between the US and Iran. FM Qureshi Foreign Secretary SohailMahmood and other senior officials of the Ministry arrived in the Saudi capital after a one-day visit to Iran. FM Qureshi visited Tehran where he called on Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani and Iranian counterpart Dr. JavadZarif. In these meetings, there was a wide-ranging exchange of views on recent developments in the Middle East/Gulf region. Pakistan-Iran relations were also discussed. The Foreign Minister reaffirmed the importance Pakistan attached to its close fraternal ties with Iran and reiterated the resolve to further strengthen the historic, multifaceted relationship between the two countries. Sharing Pakistan’s perspective in detail on the recent developments, the Foreign Minister emphasised the importance of maximum restraint and immediate steps for de-escalation by all sides. He said war was in nobody’s interest and it was imperative to resolve the issues through dialogue and diplomacy. The Foreign Minister informed the Iranian leadership about his telephonic conversations with his counterparts in the region and said that there was a general consensus in favour of immediate de-escalation and avoidance of war. The Foreign Minister reiterated that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used against anyone; nor would Pakistan be a part of any war or conflict in the region. He reaffirmed that Pakistan could only be a partner for peace. The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan appreciated Iran’s preference for de-escalation of tensions and expressed the hope that Iran would continue to act with its traditional wisdom in dealing with the issues at hand. Foreign Minister Qureshi underlined that despite the complexity of issues involved, Pakistan would continue to work for peace as this was in the collective interest of the region and the world. In this context, Pakistan would also continue to urge constructive engagement among all sides to preserve the peace and advance the prospects of a diplomatic solution. The Foreign Minister conveyed Pakistan’s appreciation for Iran’s steadfast support for Kashmiris’ right of self-determination and for early resolution of the issue in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions. President Dr. Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister JavadZarif expressed appreciation for the Foreign Minister’s visit and stressed the importance Iran attached to its brotherly relations with Pakistan. They noted that the key feature of this people-centric relationship was that both countries stood by each other in times of need. In the context of the current situation, they stressed that Iran also preferred de-escalation of tensions and preservation of peace and stability in the region. All sides had responsibilities in this regard. The Iranian leadership appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts aimed at reducing tensions and advancing the prospects of peace through facilitation of diplomatic and political means. They said that Iran had supported the Prime Minister’s initiative in the past and welcomed the present efforts as well. Iran has welcomed Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the region as Foreign Minister Shah MehmoodQureshi paid a visit to western neighbouring state in a bid to diffuse ongoing tension in the Gulf. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that “since Iran believes dispute among Muslim states will not benefit anyone, Tehran welcomes Islamabad’s efforts to boost peace and stability in the region”, Iran’s news agency IRNA said on Monday. Qureshi, on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday visited Iran on first leg of his two-nation tour and held meetings with leadership including President Rouhani, Foreign Minister JawadZarif and Governor General MashadKhorasanRazavi.