Saudi Arabia, Iran don’t want hostility: PM

TEHRAN: Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said Saudi Arabia and Iran do not regard each other as enemies, as they do not want hostility and tension in the region.

“Pakistan has conveyed Saudi Arabia’s concerns to Iran, and will pass on Iran’s concerns to Saudi Arabia,” the Premier said while talking to media persons after his meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani here.

He said both the countries do have their concerns but stopped short of disclosing them, saying he cannot speak about these concerns at this stage.

When asked whether Saudi Arabia and Iran have any intention to sit together, the PM said Pakistan has proposed to present itself as a host for such an interaction.

Nawaz Sharif said he is very satisfied with the trips undertaken to the two brotherly countries with the mission to defuse tensions.

“I felt encouraged to have taken a trip to Saudi Arabia yesterday,” he said, adding, his feeling is the same after meeting with the Iranian leadership.

He said Pakistan and Iran have agreed to appoint a focal person for taking the process of reconciliation forward while Saudi Arabia will also be asked to do the same.

The Premier said that Saudi Arabia on Monday appreciated Pakistan’s stance and role in the current Saudi-Iran stand off and ‘today Iran also welcomed our initiative’.

The Premier said Pakistan had brokered talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in 1997 on the sidelines a summit of Organization of Islamic Council (OIC) and ‘we should take pride in playing a role of a mediator this time as well’. He said Pakistan took up the mission of defusing Saudi-Iran tension of its own accord.

“We are fighting a common enemy that is terrorism. Together we can fight and defeat this menace. It cannot be fought separately,” PM Nawaz said, adding the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and Iran are well aware of this need.

Earlier, the PM Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was also present in the meeting.

Later, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum set to be held on January 20 to 23 in Davos.

During his stay in Switzerland, PM Sharif will be meeting with the US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State, John Kerry.

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