Pakistan, Russia agree to launch joint efforts to restore peace in region

Published January 10, 2020
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a visit to Moscow in December 2018. — AFP/File
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a visit to Moscow in December 2018. — AFP/File

Following the escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran, Pakistan and Russia have agreed to launch joint efforts to restore peace in the region, Radio Pakistan reported on Friday.

In a phone call between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the two leaders discussed issues relating to the escalation of tensions in the Middle East as well as the overall situation in the region, the report added.

As Qureshi and Lavrov agreed to make joint efforts for regional peace, Pakistan's foreign minister told his Russian counterpart that the increasing tensions could cause a "severe blow" to regional peace, adding that both sides have to show restraint in order to de-escalate the situation.

According to Radio Pakistan, Qureshi "made it clear that Pakistan will neither be a party to any new conflict in the region nor will its land be used against any regional or neighbouring country".

Meanwhile, Qureshi on Friday met with the newly appointed Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Syed Mohammad Ali Hosseini during which they discussed tensions between US and Iran as well as the situation of peace and stability in the region.

'Region cannot afford a new war'

The foreign minister today also discussed the US-Iran tensions in a phone call with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Qureshi during the conversation said that the region could not afford a new war and reiterated the need for all parties to resolve issues through dialogue under UN Security Council resolutions and international laws.

He emphasised that all parties to the conflict should bear in mind national sovereignty and protection of integrity.

"Tensions will have to be reduced to create an atmosphere for dialogue," the FO quoted him as saying.

The foreign ministers agreed to continue consultations in order to bring down regional tensions and carry out joint efforts to establish peace in the region, the statement said.

On Wednesday, the United States and Iran came to the brink of war after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US drone strike on Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.

The situation de-escalated after US President Donald Trump, while delivering a televised address on Wednesday, extended an olive branch to the "people and leaders" of Iran to work together for "shared priorities". In the same breath, he announced more "punishing" economic sanctions against Tehran.

Following the escalating regional tensions, Prime Minister Imran Khan had instructed Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States and meet with respective foreign ministers, and the US secretary of state.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa was asked by the premier to call upon all concerned parties in the dangerously escalating conflict between US and Iran to "avoid rhetoric in favour of diplomatic engagement".

Yesterday, reiterating his offer for mediation between US and Iran, Prime Minister Imran said that Pakistan would not become part to anyone else’s war but would try to resolve differences between warring states.

Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui



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