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Pak FM in Riyadh to defuse Saudi-Iran tensions

December 12, 2019 02:19 PM

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held talks with his Saudi counterpart in Riyadh in what appears to be a visit linked to Islamabad's efforts to seek de-escalation in rising tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office here said that Qureshi on Wednesday met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, during which regional and international issues were discussed, reports The Express Tribune.

A separate statement issued by the Saudi official news agency said the foreign ministers reviewed bilateral relations between the two "brotherly countries" and ways of enhancing them in all fields.

Although no further details were available, official sources told The Express Tribune that the visit was part of ongoing efforts by Pakistan to defuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The two countries are at loggerheads since Saudi oil facilities came under missile attacks in September. Saudi Arabia and the US blamed Iran for the attack.

Tehran, however, denied the allegations.
Pakistan has since been making efforts to facilitate dialogue between the two countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan made a stopover in Saudi Arabia on his way to the annual UN General Assembly session in New York in September to meet Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

In New York, he held meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to defuse tensions between Tehran and Riyadh.

The efforts in September were followed by a flurry of visits undertaken by Pakistani civil and military leadership both to Riyadh and Tehran.

All such diplomatic maneouvers, observers believed, were aimed at avoiding any conflict in the Persian Gulf region.

Pakistan enjoys close strategic ties with Saudi Arabia but at the same time considers its relationship with Iran important given its proximity as well as other factors.

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