News ID: 260056
Published: 0216 GMT October 11, 2019

Pakistani PM to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia to ‘ease tensions’

Pakistani PM to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia to ‘ease tensions’
B.K. BANGASH/AP
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a Kashmir rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Oct. 11, 2019.

Pakistan’s top diplomat said Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Iran's capital Tehran on Saturday before heading to Saudi Arabia to try and ease tensions between the two Persian Gulf countries.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the announcement Friday, while talking to reporters in the city of Multan, AP reported.

He said he will also accompany Khan during the crucial two-day visit.

Qureshi said Pakistan wants to remove misunderstandings between Iran and Saudi Arabia. He said his country will do whatever possible to mediate and ease tensions between the two Muslim countries.

Pakistan is closely allied with Saudi Arabia but has tried to maintain a diplomatic balancing act between Riyadh and Tehran.

The visit takes place weeks after Islamabad said Washington had asked it to mediate with Tehran.

“The possibility of a visit of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia and Iran is on the cards and I will update you as things unfold,” foreign office spokesman, Mohammad Fasisal, told a news briefing on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The announcement of the visit came after Khan last month described a request by US President Donald Trump, asking the Pakistani leader to help defuse tensions with Iran. Washington had without evidence blamed Tehran for an attack on the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. Iran categorically denied involvement for the raid which was claimed by Yemeni Houthi movement which fights Saudi blitz on their country.

Faisal declined to comment when asked whether the visit was related to the mediation request.

Tensions have elevated between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the attack, which took place on Sept. 14.

Khan said after a meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that he was “trying and mediating” and had also spoken with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Khan has ramped up his government’s engagement on the international stage, offering to negotiate regional tensions. He has separately proposed to Trump that Pakistan could help broker peace in neighboring Afghanistan.

 

   
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