Iran-Saudi Arabia row: UN chief seeks Pakistan’s help in defusing tensions

UN chief teleph­ones the PM and asks him to play a vital role in normal­ising ties betwee­n the region­al rivals­

Our Correspondent February 12, 2016
In this file photo, PM Nawaz Sharif meets UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon. PHOTO: AFP


The head of the United Nations has sought Pakistan’s help in defusing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday evening and asked him to play a ‘pivotal role’ in defusing the row owing to Pakistan’s good ties with both nations, an official communiqué issued by the PM House said.

Iran says ready to put rivalries aside with Saudi Arabia

“Prime Minister, you have good relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia and you can play a vital and pivotal role in finding a solution to the problem [between them],” the release quoted the UN chief as saying. “The leader that you [Nawaz Sharif] are, you can resolve that issue,” Ban Ki-moon said. The officials said Premier Nawaz also briefed the UN secretary general about his visits to Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Pakistani businessmen called on Prime Minister Nawaz at the PM House on Friday. According to an official PM House statement, the delegates lauded him for bringing about macroeconomic stability in the country. They credited the government’s “prudent economic policies, efficient and transparent management, deployment of available resources, investments worth over $46 billion through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and improvements in overall security in the country” for the economic turnaround.

“The confidence of the business community to invest in diverse economic fields has been reinforced through business-friendly policies of the government,” the statement quoted the delegates as saying.

Pakistan did not mediate in Saudi-Iran row: foreign minister

Premier Nawaz told the delegates that his government inherited a country wracked by crises on the security, energy and economic fronts from its predecessor. “But, we took vital and bold decisions to improve the situation in the country and introduced robust and positive initiatives to achieve macroeconomic stability,” he said.

The prime minster said his government had to heavily cut non-development expenditures to create space for development spending. “The energy sector has been given priority so we can generate 10,000 megawatts of electricity by 2018,” he said, terming the recent agreement to import LNG from Qatar a ‘breakthrough’ for ensuring Pakistan is self sufficient in energy.

He also told the businessmen that Qatar’s leadership has “immense love and affection for the Pakistani diaspora.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2016.


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