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PM Imran arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of ‘peace initiative’ – Pakistan

PM Imran arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of 'peace initiative' - Pakistan

After his day trip to Iran two days ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as part of his initiative for peace and security in the region.

Shortly after his arrival, the prime minister called the Saudi king Salman and held a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

After landing at Riyadh airport, Prime Minister Imran was received in the royal terminal by Riyadh governor bin Bandar Al Saud, State Minister Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban, Pakistan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia and other officials .

The prime minister is accompanied by the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfikar Bukhari.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the prime minister during the trip will consult with the Saudi leadership in light of his recent consultations with other leaders. Bilateral ties and other regional developments will also be part of the discussions, Pakistan Radio reported.

This is the third visit of Prime Minister Imran to Saudi Arabia this year. Earlier, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a state visit to Pakistan in February.

On Sunday, Imran met with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on an official day trip. At the meetings, the leaders emphasized the need for peace in the region.

"In the past, Pakistan had welcomed Saudi Arabia and Iran and is once again willing to facilitate sister countries to resolve their differences," said the prime minister in Tehran, adding that it was Pakistan's own initiative to act as a "facilitator. ".

Tensions in the region have been high for months, following the decision of US President Donald Trump to impose crushing sanctions that target Iran's crude oil sales and have paralyzed its economy. Those sanctions came after Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers last year.

The tensions culminated in a September 14 attack against the key Saudi oil infrastructure that halved the kingdom's oil production.

The United States blames Iran for the attack, something that Tehran denies. The Houthi rebels of Yemen, whom the kingdom has been fighting in a war of many years, claimed the attack. Saudi Arabia also blamed the attack on Iran. However, in an interview with CBS "60 minutes" program, the crown prince declared that a war with Iran will be catastrophic for the world economy.

"We do not want a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. We recognize that it is a complex issue, we recognize it, but we feel that this can be resolved through dialogue, "Imran said with Rouhani." But what should never happen is the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. "

There have been at least four major and minor initiatives of Pakistan to mediate between the two countries since the 1980s. Pakistan first attempted its hand in mediation in the Middle East rivalry during the Iran-Iraq war.

Later, in 1997, a meeting of the leaders of Iran and Saudi Arabia in Islamabad was organized on the sidelines of a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Former President Pervez Musharraf also tried to move forward during the period 2003-2004. However, his efforts did not progress because he was considered too close to the United States.

The most recent initiative was in 2016, when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief tried to mediate after tensions escalated following the execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Baqir Al-Nimr. At that time, Saudi Arabia did not encourage the initiative.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1510973/pm-imran-arrives-in-saudi-arabia-as-part-of-peace-initiative

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