Pakistan’s prime minister claims the peace initiative will strengthen the Muslim Ummah
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday appreciated Saudi Arabia’s stated intent to pursue peace with Iran, claiming it will help strengthen the global Muslim community.
“We welcome the KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] initiative for peace with Iran,” he wrote in a posting on Twitter, alongside the link to a story that quoted the Gulf kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman telling Al Arabiya TV that he wanted “good relations” with Iran. “Iran is our neighbor and KSA our closest friend. This peace initiative will strengthen the Muslim Ummah,” Khan added.
“Iran is a neighboring country, and all we aspire for is a good and special relationship with Iran,” the Saudi crown prince was quoted as saying in the linked interview. “We do not want Iran’s situation to be difficult. On the contrary, we want Iran to grow … and to push the region and the world towards prosperity,” he said, adding that Riyadh was working with regional and global partners to find solutions to Tehran’s “negative behavior.”
The statement is a marked change from earlier, when Salman had lashed out at Tehran, accusing it of fueling regional insecurity.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had, last year, claimed that Pakistan’s “mediation efforts” had de-escalated tensions in the Middle East. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also visited both Tehran and Riyadh and stressed the importance of avoiding conflict and finding diplomatic solutions.
In April, the Financial Times reported that Tehran and Riyadh had held secret talks in Baghdad. Saudi Arabia has officially denied these talks, while Iran has neither confirmed nor denied them, stating only that it had “always welcomed” dialogue with the Gulf kingdom.