ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday that Prime Minister’s Imran Khan’s visits to Saudi Arabia and Iran have proven fruitful as differences between the two countries have significantly been mitigated.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Qureshi said that the prime minister was able to relay Iran’s sentiments to the Saudi leadership.
He said that the entire senior Saudi leadership, including the foreign minister, minister of state, national security adviser was present during the meetings.
“We presented Pakistan’s standpoint, discussed the region’s needs, and relayed Iran’s sentiments to them,” said the foreign minister.
Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani on the other hand, Qureshi said had expressed a desire to establish peaceful relations with Riyadh.
He said that he was hopeful that the regional situation will improve and both countries will agree to decreasing tensions. “I can now see the dark clouds of war and conflict that were looming above our heads slowly dispersing,” said the foreign minister.
“Pakistan’s number one objective was this: that we do not end up suffering another conflict.”
We realised there was no easy solution to the conflict, which had seen many interventions from Pakistan and the international community in the past, said the minister.
“Yesterday’s meeting was very encouraging and I believe the one thing we agreed upon was that a peaceful, diplomatic process will be given preference. And all misunderstandings must be resolved through dialogue,” said Qureshi.
He said that a mechanism for a way forward is currently under deliberation.
Tensions have been building up in the Middle East following missile strikes targeting Saudi oil facilities on September 14. Riyadh and the Washington blamed Tehran but the Rouhani government denied its role.
During his meetings with the Saudi leadership on Tuesday, Premier Imran had reiterated Pakistan’s willingness to facilitate efforts for de-escalation of tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.
The prime minister also stressed the importance of avoiding military conflict and the need for constructive engagement of all parties.
“Pakistan will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Saudi Arabia,” the premier reaffirmed.
The Saudi leadership also lauded PM Imran’s efforts for promoting peace and noted the impact his initiative could have on the regional situation.