Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

Saudi Arabia, Iran brotherly countries: PM Nawaz

Updated Jan 20, 2016 01:04am
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in meeting with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.─ Photo: PMO
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in meeting with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.─ Photo: PMO
PM shakes hands with First Vice President of Iran Mr Ishaq Jahangiri.─ Photo: PID
PM shakes hands with First Vice President of Iran Mr Ishaq Jahangiri.─ Photo: PID
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and COAS Raheel Sharif holding talks with Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan.─ Photo: PMO
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and COAS Raheel Sharif holding talks with Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan.─ Photo: PMO
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi,  Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can be seen onboard an aircraft enroute from Saudi Arabia to Iran. — Photo: PMO
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can be seen onboard an aircraft enroute from Saudi Arabia to Iran. — Photo: PMO

TEHRAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Saudi Arabia and Iran are brotherly nations and Pakistan wants to defuse tensions between the two countries.

Speaking to media in Tehran after meeting Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and his cabinet members, the premier said Pakistan had achieved success in normalising ties between the two countries in 1997 and also played the same role during tensions between Iran and Iraq.

He said Pakistan will appoint a focal person on Saudi-Iran issue and sincere efforts are being done in this regard.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had arrived in Tehran Tuesday ─ a day after holding meetings with Saudi leadership in Riyadh in a bid to defuse tensions between the two countries that soar after the hanging of a Shia cleric by Saudi Arabia.

After arrival Gen Raheel met Iran's Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan, said a statement issued from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Related: Nawaz stresses peaceful resolution to Saudi-Iran row

Posted by Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pakistan, Iran have great affinity: COAS

In his meeting with the Iranian defence minister, the army chief reiterated that "Pakistan takes Iran as a very important neighbouring Muslim country and the people of Pakistan have a great affinity with their Iranian brothers," added the statement.

Gen Raheel said terrorism is a global threat that can potentially destabilise the region, adding that a coordinated response was needed to deal with the menace.

The Iranian defence minister thanked Gen Raheel Sharif and the people of Pakistan for their efforts to bolster regional security.

Read: Role in anti-terror coalition discussed with Saudi Arabia

PM off to Davos

After holding meetings with the Iranian President's cabinet and defence minister, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif departed from Tehran to Switzerland where he will participate in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from 20 to 25 January 2016.

He will also visit CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), one of the foremost international centers of scientific research.

Read: Middle East tensions boil as Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran

From Saudi Arabia to Iran

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, the premier met with King Salman, and the prime minister is expected to deliver the king’s message to the Iranian leadership.

PM Nawaz and COAS Raheel Sharif onboard an aircraft enroute from Saudi Arabia to Iran.─ Photo: PMO PM Nawaz and COAS Raheel Sharif onboard an aircraft enroute from Saudi Arabia to Iran.─ Photo: PMO

General Raheel Sharif also held a meeting with the kingdom’s defence minister soon after arriving in Saudia Arabia.

“Saudi and Pakistani leadership exchanged views on various facets of enduring cooperation with regards to the Saudi initiative of forming a coalition of Islamic countries against terrorism,” said a statement released by the Foreign Office.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also assured the Saudi leadership of Pakistan's support, and expressed concern at the recent escalation of tensions between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic.

On the question of Iran, Syria and Iraq's exclusion from the recently announced 34-nation alliance by the Kingdom, it was stated that the countries were not included due to a trust deficit.

The kingdom has assured that if the Islamic Republic shows positive signs, diplomatic ties may be restored. A list of points have been given to the Pakistani leadership for discussion with Iran’s leadership, said diplomatic sources.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. -DawnNews Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. -DawnNews

Nawaz called for resolution of the current crises through peaceful means in the larger interest of the Muslim world.

Related: Grave dangers face Muslim world in light of Saudi-Iran standoff: Sartaj

A wise step

With Pakistan embroiled in its own fight against terrorism, the sudden spike in rivalry between its two friendly countries put additional strains on the civil and military leadership.

Analysts regard the leadership’s diplomatic initiative a wise step to help Riyadh and Tehran prevent the current tensions from taking a hazardous turn which could endanger peace of the entire region.

Moreover, with successful culmination of talks between big powers and Iran over the latter’s nuclear issue, Pakistan certainly eyes certain economic benefits from Tehran re-entering world trade. “With Iran re-joining the world trade, Pakistan can look forward to meeting its energy needs from across the border by completing the pending gas pipeline,” remarked an analyst.

Pakistani delegation in meeting with Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan.─ Photo: PMO Pakistani delegation in meeting with Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan.─ Photo: PMO

Tensions recently flared between the two-regional rivals after the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, which led to the eruption of protests all over the region.

Related: Iran reacts with fury after Saudis execute Shia cleric

As a reaction to the execution of the cleric, Riyadh's diplomatic post was also attacked in Iran by angry protesters, which led to the severance of diplomatic ties between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic, further complicating an already tense atmosphere.

Also Read: Iran-Saudi row may widen sectarian divide: Pew survey