Pakistan PM Imran Khan on a visit to Iran said that Islamabad will do its best to facilitate talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia and work to avoid conflict between Tehran and Riyadh.
Addressing a joint news conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Khan said certain vested interests were pushing for yet another war in a region that has suffered immensely due to previous and ongoing conflicts
Pakistan does not want conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia … I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh … I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president,” he said, adding that he will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Khan reiterated that the reason for his trip to Iran and Saudi Arabia was to defuse rising tensions in the Middle East. “Pakistan will act as a facilitator, not as a mediator to help reduce tensions – now and in the future,” he said.
Khan emphasised that Pakistan will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to avert large-scale conflict between the two Muslim countries.
“Mr President, the main reason I came over with my delegation is that we don’t want conflict in this region. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the War on Terror. Iran is still suffering and I don’t want more people to suffer in this part of the world.
“We have Iran as our neighbour and our ties with Iran go way back. Saudi Arabia is one of our closest friends – it has helped us in our times of need,” said Khan.
Khan is slated to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday “with a positive state of mind” to emphasise the importance of dialogue, stressing that these efforts for peace were purely a Pakistani initiative.