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Imran Khan says Pakistan will push for Iran-Saudi mediation

Imran Khan says Pakistan will push for Iran-Saudi mediation
Islamabad will do everything it can to promote dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said, as tensions grow between the two Gulf rivals.

Stating that Pakistan would like to avoid conflict in the region, Khan announced at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran that he “would be happy to facilitate talks” with Riyadh.

“The main reason I came here with my delegation is that we don’t want conflict in the region. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years in the ‘war on terror,’ Afghanistan is still suffering, [there is] terrible devastation in Syria – we don't want another conflict in this part of the world,” Khan said.

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Khan held consultations with Rouhani on Sunday and was scheduled to meet with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later in the day. He said that he would be traveling to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Rouhani said at the press conference that Tehran would welcome “any gesture” by Pakistan to help bring peace to the region. 

“Any goodwill gesture will be responded with a goodwill gesture and good words,” he told Khan.

Expanding on that, the Iranian president said that ending the war in Yemen – which Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have waged since 2015 – is “crucial for solving regional challenges.” Both Tehran and Islamabad believe that the regional crises have political solutions, he stated.

His comments echo earlier statements from Tehran. Ahead of Khan’s visit, Iran’s foreign ministry stated that it was “always ready to hold talks with its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, to get rid of any misunderstandings.”

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