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Iran US conflict threatening stability of region: Shah Mehmood

25 May, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday expressed concerns over rising tensions between the US and Iran and conveyed to visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif that Pakistan is ready to work with all sides to help lower tensions and preserve peace and stability in the region

“Ongoing conflict between US and Iran is threatening the stability of an already volatile region and any miscalculation or accident can escalate the tensions to a dangerous level,” Qureshi said during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart and the delegation-level talks here at the Foreign Office. “Disputes should always be resolved within the framework of international law and through dialogue and diplomatic means,” he stressed.

The foreign minister said Pakistan does not favour any conflict and believes that all sides should exercise maximum restraint and work in a spirit of easing the tensions. “Pakistan stands ready to work with all sides to help lower tensions and preserve peace and stability in the region,” he told Dr Zarif.

This is Foreign Minister Zarif’s third visit to Pakistan since the new government assumed office.

Foreign Minister Qureshi exchanged views with Dr Zarif on recent tensions, undermining peace and stability in the region. Important issues related to bilateral relations were also discussed. Both sides appreciated the progress on important decisions made during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Iran and the need to continue regular engagement for expanding cooperation in all areas.

Views were also exchanged on promotion of bilateral trade, facilitation of people-to-people contacts and movements, opening of new border crossing points, establishment of new border markets and enhancing security along Pak-Iran border. Views were also exchanged on important regional issues including recent developments concerning peace process in Afghanistan.

Underscoring the utility of the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’, Foreign Minister Qureshi stated that the agreement is a good example of negotiated settlement of complex issues through diplomatic means. He said Pakistan supports the plan as well as efforts of other parties to the agreement to salvage the deal. “Faithful implementation of obligations by all parties is vitally important,” he added.

The Iranian foreign minister said his country gives value to Pakistan’s efforts for establishing peace in the region. Expressing satisfaction over implementation on the decisions made during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Iran, he stressed the need to continue cooperation on bilateral matters. During the discussions, Dr Zarif proposed connecting Pakistan’s Gwadar port with Iran’s Chabahar port to promote trade and commerce in the region. “I’ve come here with a proposal for the government of Pakistan for connection between Chabahar and Gwadar… We believe that Chabahar and Gwadar can complement each other,” Press TV quoted Zarif as saying during the talks. “We can connect Chabahar and Gwadar, and then through that connect Gwadar to our entire railroad system, from Iran to the North Corridor, through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and also through Azerbaijan, Russia, and through Turkey,” he added.

The proposal is unexpected because Pakistan’s rival India has been Iran’s partner in developing Chabahar while Iran’s key regional rival, Saudi Arabia, has been in talks to develop an oil refinery facility at Gwadar, though no agreements have been signed.

Later, Dr Zarif called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed matters of bilateral and regional importance. Dr Zarif also called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters (GHQ). During the meeting matters of mutual interest and evolving situation in the region were discussed, said a press statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The army chief said that war is not in anyone’s interest and that all sides need to make efforts to keep conflict away from the region. The Iranian foreign minister appreciated Pakistan’s positive role for regional peace and stability.

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