Pakistan PM due in Riyadh to defuse Saudi-Iran tension

RIYADH

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is due to arrive in Riyadh on Tuesday as part of his mediation efforts to defuse tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

His talks with Saudi leaders are expected to focus on regional developments, particularly recent escalations in the Persian Gulf region. Tuesday’s visit will be the third by the Pakistani premier to Saudi Arabia this year.

On Sunday, Khan visited Iran as part of his mediation efforts and held talks with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Addressing a press conference in Tehran following his talks with Rouhani, the Pakistani premier said Islamabad was willing to play a role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

“War between Saudi Arabia and Iran should never happen. The issue is complex but can be resolved through dialogue for which I am here,” he said.

Tension has escalated in the Gulf in recent weeks after drones hit two oil facilities in northern Saudi Arabia on Sept. 14.

Iran-backed Houthi rebel group in Yemen had claimed responsibility for the attack, but the U.S. has since blamed Iran, as has Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Republic has denied any connection to the strikes.

Media reports earlier claimed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman requested Khan to play his role to end conflict with Iran.
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