ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was welcomed in Riyadh on Monday by his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said on Monday.
Qureshi expressed concern over the mounting tension in the Gulf region and “stressed the peaceful resolution of issues through diplomatic means in order to normalize the situation and ensure regional peace and stability,” the FO said.
He also apprised his Saudi counterpart of his contact with other foreign ministers in the region and said that any conflict
could “affect the Afghan peace process, which has entered a critical stage.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan had said last week that he had instructed Qureshi to travel to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States to convey Pakistan’s willingness to play a constructive role for peace in the region.
On the first leg of this peace mission Qureshi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian FM Javad Zarif in Tehran on Sunday, where Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective in detail and emphasized the importance of maximum restraint and the immediate steps for de-escalation by all sides, the FO said.
Qureshi reiterated that “Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used against anyone, nor would Pakistan be a part of any war or conflict in the region,” stressing that “Pakistan could only be a partner for peace.”
Islamabad-based political analyst Zahid Hussain told Arab News on Monday that Qureshi’s visits to Tehran, Riyadh, and Washington were part of PM Khan’s regional mediation promise made to Trump during the UN General Assembly session in New York.
However, he said that “Pakistan’s role is limited given the complexities of the crisis.”
Senior diplomat Javed Hafeez said: “Saudi Arabia is the most important nation on the southern side of Gulf, (and) can play a vital role for peace and stability.”
He said that the meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is vital in the current situation.
Qureshi is scheduled to fly to the US on Jan. 16.
The restive Middle East region found itself on the brink of another conflict in the beginning of January, when the US killed top Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an attack authorized by US President Donald Trump.
Soleimani was a high-profile figure in his country and was thought to be the man behind Tehran’s military influence in the region.
He was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad, only a few days after the American Embassy in Iraq was targeted by pro-Iranian militiamen.