PM Khan, President Rouhani discuss bilateral matters, regional issues

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TEHRAN – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran during his a one-day official trip and discussed wide-ranging consultations.

“Pakistan attaches high importance to bilateral ties with Iran,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by the PTI. “Pakistan is willing to play its role towards strengthening peace and stability in the region.”

“I told Prime Minster Imran we welcome any gesture by Pakistan for peace in the region and appreciate his visit to our country,” said Rouhani at a joint press conference.

Mr Rouhani said that the two leaders had discussed the war in Yemen and the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran among many other issues.

“Regional issues have to be resolved through regional means and dialogue. We also emphasised that any goodwill gesture will be responded with goodwill gesture and good words,” said the Iranian president.

“We also discussed how the nuclear deal could be restored,” outlined Rouhani.

“Mr President, the main reason I came here with my delegation is that we don’t want conflict in the region. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years in the war on terror, Afghanistan is still suffering, there is terrible devastation in Syria — we don’t want another conflict in this part of the world,” said PM Khan.

“Saudi Arabia has been one of our close friends, it helped us in the time of need. We recognise that it is a complex situation […] what should not happen is that Saudi Arabia and Iran go to war.

“We don’t want a conflict between two brotherly countries. It will increase poverty, oil prices will go up. There is vested interest behind this conflict,” added the premier.

Regarding the premier’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, he said it was Pakistan’s own initiative, saying he felt encouraged after his meeting with the Iranian president.

“I will go to Saudi Arabia with a positive mind. We would like to play the role of a facilitator and not mediator. We want to facilitate two brotherly Islamic countries. It is a complex situation but it can be resolved.”

“We also discussed how the nuclear deal could be restored. When we were in New York, US President Donald Trump asked us to facilitate some sort of dialogue with Iran and the US,” said PM Khan.

Earlier today, PM Imran arrived in Tehran where he was received by Foreign Minister of Iran Javad Zarif. Foreign Office, in a statement issued on Saturday, said that Prime Minister Imran was undertaking the visit to Tehran “as part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region”.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari were also accompanying the premier.

During the visit, PM Khan will have meetings with the Iranian leadership, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei. Besides issues relating to peace and security in the Gulf, bilateral matters and important regional developments will be discussed.

This will be the Prime Minister’s second visit to Iran this year.

The Prime Minister also had a bilateral meeting with the President of Iran on the sidelines of 74th UNGA Session in New York in September 2019.

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