Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will on Tuesday embark on a visit to Saudi Arabia as part of Islamabad’s efforts to defuse tensions between Tehran and Riyadh which peaked after the September 14 drone attacks in the Kingdom.
Following his visit to Iran on Sunday, Khan will set off for the kingdom – his third trip to the country this year – to discuss with Saudi leadership regional developments and other matters, reports The Express Tribune.
A Foreign Office (FO) statement noted Pakistan’s strong ties with Saudi Arabia “marked by mutual trust, understanding, close cooperation and an abiding tradition of supporting each other”.
Khan reiterated on his visit to Iran that Pakistan was ready to act as a facilitator between Tehran and Riyadh, to sort out their differences through dialogue.
The Prime Minister had said that the “issue is a complex one but it is possible to sort out differences through dialogue”.
He also explained the visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday which was sole “Pakistan’s initiative” as he was not asked by anyone to undertake such a trip.
He made it clear that Pakistan’s role would be of a facilitator and not a mediator, stressing that it was imperative for everyone not to allow any conflict to take place in the region as he viewed certain vested interests which wanted to flare up tensions in the region.
Tensions have been high between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the September 14 attacks that caused fires and damage to an oil processing facility and a production facility, The Express Tribune reported.
Saudi Arabia temporarily halted production at two Aramco oil facilities, interrupting about half of the company’s total output – shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day of production – more than 5 per cent of global oil supply.
The attack was claimed by the Yemeni Houthi rebels, although the US and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for it, an allegation which has been strongly denied by Tehran.