Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has welcomed efforts for mediation with Saudi Arabia ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the country.
“We’ve always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbor. We’re going to be here together permanently,” Zarif said in an interview with international news channel. “We don’t have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries,” Zarif noted.
When asked about PM Imran’s upcoming visit to Tehran, Zarif said, “We’ve never rejected any intermediary… We’ve always been open to mediation, and we’ve always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbors.” The Foreign Office on Thursday said PM Imran was likely to visit Saudi Arabia and Iran, weeks after Islamabad said Washington had asked it to mediate with Tehran.
Prime Minister Imran Khan would undertake a visit to Iran in a few days, said his Special Assistant Naeem-ul-Haq on Friday (Oct 11). He said during his visit to the Islamic Republic, the prime minister would hold meetings with Iranian leadership.
The mediation initiative is being taken at the request of Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had during Mr Khan’s last visit to Saudi Arabia asked him to help defuse tensions with Iran as Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid war. Iranians have expressed their readiness to accept the offer, but have made it conditional to the US and other western forces leaving the region.
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17 November, 2019