TEHRAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday called on Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani and urged him to use diplomatic means to dial down tensions in the region and resolve matters amicably.
The foreign minister reached Tehran earlier in the day on the first leg of two-nation visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss peace and share Pakistan’s perspective on Middle East tensions.
The visit comes in the wake recent developments which have seriously risked peace and security in an already volatile region and requires immediate and collective efforts for a peaceful resolution.
During his meeting with President Rouhani that encompassed the US-Iran tension, regional peace and the multifaceted Pak-Iran ties, the foreign minister said both the countries enjoyed deep historic, religious, and cultural brotherhood.
Qureshi thanked the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian president on behalf of Prime Minister Imran for raising their voice against Indian atrocities in Occupied Kashmir and supporting Pakistan's stand.
While presenting Pakistan's perspective on the regional situation, the foreign minister emphasised the resolution of the issues amicably by utilising the diplomatic channels.
He also apprised the Iranian president about his recent conversation with the foreign ministers of different countries. He said the recent statements from Iranian side were encouraging as Pakistan believes the region could not afford any more tension or confrontation.
The foreign minister reiterated that Pakistan would not join any war in the region, but it would continue playing its vibrant and positive role for establishment of peace in the region.
President Rouhani lauded the peace-building efforts by Pakistan and clarified that Iran did not want to increase tension in the region.
After concluding his visit to Iran, Qureshi would leave for Riyadh to hold talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and consult on regional peace and stability.
Earlier in the day, Qureshi arrived in Tehran accompanied by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood. They were warmly received by Director General of Iranian Foreign Ministry Syed Rasool Musavi and senior officials of the Pakistan Embassy.
Arrived in Mashad, Iran commencing my trip to build better understanding & peace in the region. Honoured to pay my respects at the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S), descendant of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) as my first stop where I prayed for Muslim unity & regional stability. pic.twitter.com/LYs7KOEzAj— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) January 12, 2020
Foreign Minister Qureshi commenced his visit from Mashhad where he paid respects at the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), descendant of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) where he prayed for Muslim unity and regional stability.
In Mashhad, the foreign minister also met Governor General of Khorasan-Razavi province Ali Reza Razm Hosseini, who warmly welcomed him and his delegation.
The governor general told the foreign minister that they catered around three million pilgrims annually coming from across the world including Pakistan.
In his remarks, the foreign minister said that starting his trip from the holy place was a matter of honour for him. The foreign minister also thanked the governor general for facilitation of the Pakistani pilgrims who visit the shrine in a huge number annually.
Qureshi’s visits are part of Pakistan’s efforts to help defuse tensions ignited by hostilities between Iran and the United States.
US forces killed Iran’s most revered military commander Maj Gen Qassem Suleimani in a drone strike near Baghdad airport on Jan 3, while in revenge Tehran attacked two US military bases in Iraq with missiles five days later. Though the two countries have apparently stood down, tension is still running high in the region.
US officials frequently contacted Pakistani military brass during the crisis, but Islamabad made it abundantly clear that it would not become party to any armed conflict in the region and instead advised all to exercise maximum restraint to avoid war.
(With additional input from News Desk.)
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