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Iran, S. Arabia on path of easing tensions: FM

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister of Pakistan welcoming the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia to resolve differences says the way to de-escalate tensions is not easy but it is good that Tehran and Riyadh have taken this initiative.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the remarks during a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday to explain the purpose of Pakistani Prime Minister’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and his meetings with the Saudi officials.
Referring to his meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister Qureshi added in this meeting, Faisal bin Farhan briefed him about Saudi efforts to start dialogue with Iran which was also confirmed by the Iranian foreign ministry.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister added the flexibility of the parties in the negotiations is very encouraging and Pakistan feels that its desire to strengthen Islamic unity, especially the removal of differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia, is being realized.
“There is a gap between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but fortunately the move has begun to close that gap and we hope the efforts will succeed,” he said.
Qureshi said Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Riyadh and Saudi Arabia’s invitation to the Emir of Qatar to visit Saudi Arabia are signs of easing tensions between the region and a common vision for lasting peace and stability.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan paid a three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia last Saturday. The visit came as Imran Khan welcomed the Saudi Crown Prince’s remarks on May 29 in which he hoped to have good relations with the Islamic Republic, and said Riyadh’s efforts to repair relations with Tehran were in the interest of the Islamic Ummah.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister, who accompanied Imran Khan on his official visit to Saudi Arabia, confirmed in an interview with Dunya News that the Pakistani Prime Minister had discussed recent developments in the region with Mohammad bin Salman.
Qureshi added that he was scheduled to travel to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where he would pursue peace efforts, as Baghdad has been the focus of some regional de-escalation efforts in recent weeks.
Welcoming efforts by Iran and Saudi Arabia to clear misunderstandings, the Pakistani foreign minister said that the way to end tensions was very long but Tehran and Riyadh had begun their efforts.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that Pakistan strongly condemns the ongoing attacks by Israel’s military forces on the people of Palestine during which at least 24 Palestinians, including nine children, have died and several others got injured.
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, the foreign minister strongly condemned the Israeli violence against innocent and unarmed Palestinians. He urged the international community to mobilise its efforts to stop the Israeli atrocities against Palestinians and their forced evictions from their homes.
Referring to his telephonic conversation with his Turkey counterpart, the foreign minister said that Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Saudi Arabia and during talks with the Saudi foreign minister, he will propose an emergency ministerial level meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in order to effectively raise voice of Muslim Ummah on the Palestinian issue.
“He also shared with me that an emergency session of the United Nation on the matter is also under consideration,” the FM said, adding that it requires a consensus. He added that this forceful eviction and aggression from Israeli forces needs to immediately halt whereas the international community also needs to mobilise on a priority basis.
“If the international community is worried about Hamas firing rockets then it would also be worried about the rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas fired upon the worshippers,” Qureshi added asking under which law such force was used.
Qureshi emphatically stated that there is no change in Pakistan’s historic and principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He said that Jammu and Kashmir cannot be an internal issue of India as it is on the agenda of the UN and there are several Security Council resolutions on it.
Talking about the Afghan peace process, Qureshi said Director General of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed appraised him about Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit to Afghanistan and the meeting with President Ashraf Ghani.
“Pakistan wants to reassure that we would facilitate them in the peace process,” he said adding that DG ISI took him into confidence that the meeting was a ‘good way forward on the peace process.’
The FM reiterated that Pakistan has decided not to intervene in Afghanistan’s internal matters, adding that peace in Afghanistan would benefit the entire region.
Talking about the MoUs signed between the two countries, the foreign minister said that a structured mechanism to enhance the bilateral ties had been put in place.
Qureshi added that the security, politics, economics, culture and promotion of soft image, had been decided as the pillars (talking points) whereas who would lead the discussions on them had also been decided. – TLTP