ISLAMABAD: In a bid to defuse rising tensions in the Gulf, Pakistan has taken an initiative by assuming the role of a ‘facilitator’, inviting both Iran and Saudi Arabia to Islamabad for a dialogue.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani during his official visit to Tehran on Sunday a couple of days before proceeding to Jeddah, said: “In the past, Pakistan had hosted Saudi Arabia and Iran and is again willing to facilitate the brotherly countries to iron out their differences.”
Mr Khan said it was his own initiative to act as a “facilitator as nobody had asked me to do so”.
Addressing a joint press conference along with President Rouhani, PM Khan said: “The issue [of Saudi Arabia and Iran relations] is a complex one, but it is possible to sort out differences through dialogue.”
Mr Khan expressed gratitude to the Iranian president for supporting the people of Kashmir, as eight million Kashmiris have been put under curfew for the past two months. “I really want to thank the way Iran spoke out for this big humanitarian disaster that is unfolding,” he added.
He said it was his third meeting with President Rouhani during which they discussed bilateral relationship, trade and that how both countries could help each other. “We have very old ties with Iran. Pakistan still remembers how Iran stood with us in 1965 when Pakistan was facing hostilities,” he added.
Imran meets Khamenei, Rouhani in Tehran
Talking about Iran-Saudi sour relations, the prime minister said: “We recognised that it is a complex issue, but we feel that this can be resolved through dialogue. What should never happen is a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran because this will not only affect the two countries but also the whole region. It will also cause poverty in the world as oil prices will go up and countries which should spend on human welfare will end up buying expensive oil,” he added.