Oct 12, 2019, 4:14 PM
Journalist ID: 2053
News Code: 83513390
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Khan’s mediation attempt, a real test of diplomacy  

Islamabad, Oct 12, IRNA -- When Imran Khan became Prime Minister of Pakistan thirteen months ago he vowed to play a proactive role for resolving regional issues and now when he is embarking on a visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia after recent developments in the Persian Gulf the question arises whether his diplomatic initiative will succeed or not.

In his first public address soon after winning general elections last year, Imran Khan said that his party desires stronger ties with Iran and Pakistan will play its role in the resolution of the Middle East crisis.

After paying three officials visits to Saudi Arabia, the Pakistani prime minister traveled to Iran on April 21 this year for his first official visit to the Islamic Republic.

During the visit, he had important meetings with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

The aim of the Prime Minister’s recent efforts is long-lasting peace and stability in the neighborhood especially in Iran with whom Pakistan shares over 900-kilometer-long border. Imran Khan believes that any tension in its neighbored would have a direct impact on Pakistan.

During his visit to New York to attend the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, Khan said at various forums that the war is not a solution to any issue and conflict with Iran would serve nobody's interests.

He had also stated that both the United States and Saudi Arabia asked him to mediate with Iran to defuse tensions.

Experts say if the prime minister succeeds in brokering some kind of a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia that would be seen as a huge diplomatic success for Islamabad.

In relevant remarks earlier, while responding to a question by IRNA at his weekly news briefing, Pakistani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said, peace and stability in the region is "our desire and we will do our best to defuse tensions in the Persian Gulf region".

Meanwhile, talking to local media, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia and Iran to remove differences between the two important Muslim countries.

He said the region cannot afford another war and "we are trying to play our role to minimize tensions as we have deep relations with Saudi Arabia and are strategic partners while Iran is also neighbor and brother Muslim country.

According to observers, Pakistan’s sustained efforts show that Islamabad is far more serious in brokering a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iran has always said that it is willing to resolve all issues through dialogue, but one has to see whether the other countries are ready to take steps in this regard.  

As an important country of the region, Iran is against any role of external forces in the area and believes that regional countries can resolve their issues through dialogue by themselves.

According to reports, Prime Minister Imran Khan would first travel to Iran where he will have a night stay. His meeting with President Hassan Rouhani has been scheduled for Sunday. He will later in the day go to Riyadh for meetings with the Saudi leadership.

Earlier, local media had reported that the groundwork for the prime minister’s mediation tour was laid during an unannounced visit of a top government official to Iran and Saudi Arabia in the last week of September.

During his visit to both capitals, the official held talks with senior Iranian and Saudi authorities to help defuse tensions. Reports say there is no official confirmation of the secret visit, but it is believed to have covered some ground, encouraging Prime Minister Imran to travel to both countries.

The New York Times recently reported that Saudi Arabia and Iran were indirectly talking to each other after the Saudi prince requested Pakistan and Iraq to help defuse tensions.

Though Pakistan is sincerely making peace efforts it has to remain vigilant against some forces who want to see the Muslim countries disunited.

During his speech at the UN General Assembly, President Rouhani said the security of the region shall be provided when American troops pull out.

He added the ultimate way towards peace and security in the Middle East passes through inward democracy and outward diplomacy. “Security cannot be purchased or supplied by foreign governments,” he noted.

272**2050

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