Pak's Qureshi embarks on visit to Iran, Saudi

Pak's Qureshi embarks on visit to Iran, Saudi

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday embarked on a visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia amidst regional tension over the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike in Iraq.

Qureshi's visit came after Prime Minister Imran Khan directed him to travel to the region following the tension between the US and Iran.

Khan has said that Pakistan, which shares its border with Iran, will not be a party to any regional conflict and rather play the role of a peacemaker. Pakistan's powerful military has also said it will not allow its soil to be used against anyone.

In Tehran, Qureshi will meet his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif and exchange views on the evolving situation in the Middle East and Gulf region, the Foreign Office said.

From Tehran, he will visit Riyadh on January 13 to hold talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and consult on the issues of regional peace and stability.

"The recent developments seriously endanger peace and security in an already volatile region and underscore the need for immediate and collective efforts for a peaceful resolution," the FO said.

During these visits, Qureshi will share Pakistan's perspective on the current situation, stress the imperative of avoiding any conflict, underscore the importance of diffusion of tensions, and stress the need for finding a diplomatic way forward, it said.

The Foreign Minister will convey Pakistan's readiness to support all efforts that facilitate the resolution of differences and disputes through political and diplomatic means, the FO said.

Qureshi is also expected to go to the US on some later date as directed by Khan. He has already held telephonic talks with various counterparts in the region.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Qureshi's visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia is evidence of Pakistan's sincere efforts in resolving conflicts and reducing tension peacefully. 

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