The UN Secretary-General welcomes Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to de-escalate tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, after a recent attack on the kingdom’s oil industry, his spokesman said Tuesday (Oct 15).
Asked about the Pakistani leader’s current mediation move, Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the regular noon briefing in New York that the UN chief welcomes any such effort “as a matter of principle.”
Prime Minister Khan’s visit to Riyadh comes after traveling on Sunday to Iran, where he met President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The prime minister will confer with the Saudi leadership in light of his recent consultations with Iranian leaders on October 13
Earlier, while talking to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian leadership in Tehran, PM Imran had conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to extend full facilitation of efforts for de-escalation of tensions and resolution of differences and disputes through political and diplomatic means.
Tensions in the Gulf have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the United States withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions. President Donald Trump has reinstated U.S. sanctions, increasing pressure on Iran’s economy, and there have been attacks on Saudi Arabia and in Gulf waters that Washington and close allies have blamed on Iran. Tehran denies responsibility.
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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