ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan will extend full facilitation of efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Arabian Gulf and help resolve differences and disputes through political and diplomatic means, as he held wide-ranging talks with the Iranian leadership in Tehran.
“Pakistan will act as a facilitator, not as a mediator to help reduce tensions – now and in the future,” Khan said addressing a joint news conference with President Hassan Rouhani.
Khan said that “I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh...I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president.”
Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement that Khan’s Iran visit was “part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region.”
The prime minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the PM on overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, and other senior officials.
Khan also met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during his day-long visit. He is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
“The Prime Minister reaffirmed his resolve to comprehensively upgrade Pakistan- Iran relations. He also apprised the Supreme Leader of his initiative for regional peace and security,” the foreign office said.
The latest trip will be Khan’s second visit to Iran this year. He also held a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly session in New York last month.
On Friday the Pakistani foreign office in a statement rejected media reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to play a mediatory role to defuse tensions with Iran.
“These reports are without any basis as no such letter or message was conveyed, nor has Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to play any mediatory role with Iran,” the foreign office said.