Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday met Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani for talks aimed at easing tensions between regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Sharif flew into Iran from Saudi Arabia, where on Monday he expressed “deep concern” to King Salman bin Abdul Aziz over the diplomatic crisis.
“We wish to develop our relations and are opposed to any tension, as long as the rights of Muslims and the people of the region are respected and that the rules of diplomacy and politeness are respected,” Rouhani told him, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
Sharif, according to a statement from the Iranian presidency, said that Pakistan “always strives to... diminish tensions between Muslim nations”.
He added that those behind “terrorism and extremism” take advantage of tensions between Muslim countries.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its Arab allies cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early January.
Riyadh reacted after protesters burned Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom on January 2 executed 47 terrorists.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was accompanied by Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif.
During the visit to Saudi Arabia, Nawaz Sharif met King Salman.General Raheel also held a meeting with the Saudi defence minister soon after arriving in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi and Pakistani leadership exchanged views on various facets of enduring co-operation with regards to the Saudi initiative of forming a coalition of Islamic countries against terrorism,” said a statement released by the foreign office of Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif also assured the Saudi leadership of Pakistan’s support, and expressed concern at the recent escalation of tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.
Riyadh has assured that if Tehran shows positive signs, diplomatic ties may be restored.
A list of points has been given to the Pakistani leadership for discussion with Iran’s leadership, said diplomatic sources.
Nawaz Shafif called for resolution of the current crisis through peaceful means in the larger interest of the Muslim world.
Analysts regard Nawaz Sharif’s diplomatic initiative a wise step to help Riyadh and Tehran prevent the current tensions from taking a turn which could endanger peace of the entire region.

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