Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to remain engaged and consult closely to pursue Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to ensure stability, peace, and security in the region.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office apprised that the agreement to take forward Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative for peace was welcomed by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on Tuesday.
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI has reached Saudi Arabia on a 1 day visit, to mediate between two of Pakistan’s close friends, Saudi Arabia and Iran, for regional peace and stability.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) October 15, 2019
Continuing with his efforts to facilitate peace and dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Prime Minister held separate meetings with the Saudi King and Crown Prince, in Riyadh who have agreed to his efforts of settling disputes with Tehran.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis amongst other senior officials.
Imran Khan in Riyadh
During his meetings with the Saudi leadership, the Prime Minister underscored that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan enjoy a multi-faceted and deep-rooted relationship. He exhibited a resolve to further enhance their cooperation in the fields of investment and energy, alongside boosting bilateral trade, and people-to-people contacts.
Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz in Saudi Arabia.
They discussed bilateral relations, regional peace and stability as well as current world situation pic.twitter.com/iT7R5nnXKd
— Information Ministry (@MoIB_Official) October 15, 2019
The Premier briefed the Saudi King and Crown Prince on the ongoing humanitarian situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, and stressed upon the need to condemn the grave human rights violations, unprecedented lockdown, curfew and communications restrictions, which have prevailed for over 70 days.
The Premier lamented that these inhumane restrictions and harsh treatment exercised by Indian occupation troops have severely impacted the lives of over 8 million Kashmiris. Moreover, he stressed that the ongoing situation in occupied Kashmir has “seriously imperiled peace and security in the region”.
Avoiding Military Conflict
Discussing the evolving situation in the Persian Gulf, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed the importance of avoiding military conflict, and bringing both parties towards constructive engagement. He expressed Pakistan’s readiness to facilitate “efforts for de-escalation of tensions and resolution of differences and disputes through peaceful means.”
#PM_Imran_Khan met with Saudi #King_Shah_Salman and discuss #mediation process between #Iran and #Saudi_Arabia to remove rumours and differences spread by Enemy to create enmity between two #brotherhood #Muslims Countries. #Unity_is_Strength pic.twitter.com/83n8z6uobn
— Siasi King (@KingSiasi) October 15, 2019
The Saudi leadership reiterated its commitment to maintaining close ties with Pakistan, and its resolve to deepen bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, trade, defense, and security. The Saudi leadership always reiterated its support on the “just case of Kashmir and the importance of avoiding escalation of tensions”.
Imran Khan’s efforts for regional peace and stability were appreciated by the Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The Prime Minister’s Office stated in this regard, “The Saudi leadership appreciated serious efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan towards promoting peace and stability in the region and the impact of this initiative on de-escalation of tensions.”
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI met with HRH King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz & HRH Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman during his visit to Saudi Arabia.
— PTV World (@WorldPTV) October 16, 2019
“The exchange of views in this regard was comprehensive and constructive. Noting the complexity of the issues and recognizing the challenges involved, the two sides agreed to remain engaged and consult closely to take the process forward.”
The Iranian Foreign Minister, Javed Zarif has also thanked Imran Khan for his “efforts towards peace”.
Reiterating #HOPE (Hormuz Peace Endeavour) I again invite colleagues in the leaderships of other regional states to join Iran in forging a blueprint for peace, security, stability & prosperity. pic.twitter.com/mpGjCcbxZr
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) October 15, 2019
This marked Prime Minister Imran Khan’s third visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this year, and it was in line with his efforts to facilitate constructive engagement between Riyadh and Tehran. Pakistan has a history of acting a mediator in the conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan has facilitated dialogue between the two Muslim countries on four occasions, with the most recent instance being in 2016, when the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif visited Riyadh and Tehran to diffuse tensions in the wake of the execution of the Saudi Shia cleric, Baqir Al-Nimr.
Chief Spymaster of ISI Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed accompanied the Prime Minister Imran Khan during his brief visit to Riyadh whereby he met the Custodian of two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in an effort to diffuse Saudi-Iran tensions. pic.twitter.com/CJRzzsrpwe
— Muhammad Ibrahim Qazi (@miqazi) October 16, 2019
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are marked with hostility and mistrust, and these relations deteriorated with the start of the brutal war in Yemen, in 2015. The recently attack on Saudi Aramco-operated oil fields and processing plants, which has cut down around half of the Saudi oil production, has further deteriorated relations.
The attack claimed by the Houthi rebels, is one of the many attacks that Riyadh has blamed on Tehran. And while Iran denies responsibility, it has been a supporter of the Houthi insurgency in Yemen.