The top Pakistani diplomat says his country is ready to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, if the two regional arch-rivals show political will to walk towards rapprochement.
“If there is a chance for mediation between the two countries, we will play a role,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, while noting Pakistan would not impose its mediation on the two countries.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over various disputes, particularly those related to conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Saudi Arabia moved to hamper relations with Iran early 2016, and since then has opted to keep the door on dialogue shut.
The new Pakistani government, led by PTI Party leader Imran Khan, has announced willingness to help improve ties between the two Muslim countries several times so far. Imran Khan is going to make his first foreign trips to Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking in a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, Qureshi said Pakistan would work to maintain balanced relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.
“For us, both Iran and Saudi Arabia are very important countries and we would like to have relations with both the countries based on mutual respect,” IRNA quoted him as saying.
Eager to Meet Iran FM
During the upcoming trip of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Pakistan, Qureshi said he is pleased to see his Iranian counterpart who will enter Pakistan on Friday.
He said that Iran is a neighbour and good friend of Pakistan, like other Muslim countries in the Persian Gulf such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Qureshi said Pakistan is willing to promote calm in common borders.
“Creating peace and security in borders with Iran is in line with Pakistan’s interests,” he said.