Pakistan Ready to Host Saudi-Iran Talk to Defuse Tensions
New Delhi (Sputnik): In an attempt to reduce tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran during his one-day official trip on Sunday. The two leaders emphasised the need for peace in the region.
"This visit to Iran and the visit which I will undertake to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday is a Pakistan-led initiative. I will go with a positive mind to Saudi. Pakistan will play the role of a facilitator. I am willing to host both countries in Islamabad", Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said after the meeting.
Khan added that the issue between the two rivals is complex, but war between "Saudi and Iran should never happen".
"When I was in New York, I was asked by US President Donald Trump to facilitate these talks and we will do all what we can. We would facilitate so that sanctions can be lifted, a nuclear deal can be signed", Imran Khan said during his joint presser with the Iranian president.
Iran indicated appreciation for the steps taken by Pakistan to de-escalate the situation in this region.
"Regional issues have to be resolved through regional means and dialogue. We also emphasised that any goodwill gesture will be responded with goodwill gesture and good words", the Iranian president said, while adding that the two leaders had discussed ways that the nuclear deal can be restored.
It is worth mentioning that a similar mediation attempt was made by former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2016, but did not find much support in Saudi Arabia.
The standoff between Iran and the United States, as well as the row between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has over the past several months prompted the situation in the Persian Gulf to deteriorate.
Tensions also escalated after a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities in September, which both Riyadh and Washington blamed on the Islamic Republic. Tehran denied the allegations, stressing that the Houthi movement, fighting against a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, had claimed responsibility for the operation.
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