Oct 15, 2019, 9:34 AM
Journalist ID: 2053
News Code: 83517821
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Pakistan PM Saudi visit: Islamabad offers to host direct Iran-Saudi talks

Islamabad, Oct 15, IRNA -- Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is expected to leave for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on the second leg of his mediation efforts after Tehran amid press reports about Pakistani Government's offer to host direct Iran-Saudi talks.

Pakistan is playing the role of a facilitator to bring peace to the Persian Gulf.

Imran Khan during his visit to Tehran held separate meetings with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Dr. Hassan Rouhani.

Reports quoting well-placed diplomatic sources said that the prime minister will meet with King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

Some important high-ups will also accompany the prime minister, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The sources pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan may also visit some other Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates for his peace efforts.

Local media reported that the prime minister told Iranian leadership that Pakistan is not only ready to facilitate the dialogue but also willing to arrange face-to-face talks in Islamabad.

Pakistani press say Pakistan’s proposal is aimed at opening some channels of communication between the Saudi and Iranian Governments.

Pakistan, having close strategic ties with Saudi Arabia and being a neighbour to Iran, is increasingly concerned that any conflict between the two countries will have serious impacts on the country as well as for the region

Daily ‘Dawn’ in its Editorial comments on Tuesday said tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran will have a destabilising impact on Pakistan for a variety of reasons. Perhaps this helps explain Prime Minister Imran Khan’s shuttle diplomacy between Tehran and Riyadh.

“While in Tehran, Mr Khan said that efforts to facilitate dialogue between the Saudis and the Iranians were his own initiative,” it said.

It added considering the combustible situation in the Persian Gulf, there are signs that multiple efforts are underway to bring down the political temperature, mainly through back-channel means, but also through public diplomacy like that of the prime minister.

It said there have been reports of a secret UAE effort to open channels of dialogue with Iran, while Saudi Arabia is also said to have sent messages to Tehran via Iraq.

“Such efforts must be encouraged. A peaceful resolution to the crisis in Persian Gulf is a far more preferable course than confrontation,” said Dawn.

It noted that Pakistan can act as a bridge between Tehran and Riyadh and help facilitate a dialogue.

Another daily ‘The Nation’ said in its editorial that the peace initiative that Imran Khan wants to lead tells one that the current Pakistani leadership has deliberated on the pros and cons of any possible conflicts between Tehran and Riyadh.

It said the fact that it was PM Khan’s second visit to Iran this year will also help strengthen the ties between Pakistan and Iran.

“It is not wrong to say that Khan’s visit to Iran was amicable and productive,” it said.

Daily Times also said in its editorial that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to stave off tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia serves the interests of either side, and is for the good of Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.

It said Riyadh should be receptive to Pakistan’s initiative.

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