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Pakistan Renews Mediation Efforts Between Iran, US And Saudi Arabia

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) and Iranian President Hassan Rohani (L) in Tehran, October 13, 20169

The Prime Minister of Pakistan has directed his Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to undertake visits to Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States as part of his efforts to seek de-escalation in tensions in the Middle East.

Pakistan has close relations with Saudi Arabia and good ties with both Iran and the United States.

In October, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Iran and Saudi Arabia to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh. Following his visit Saudi Arabia expressed an interest in improving relations with Iran.

The decision by Pakistan to renew mediation efforts comes after the targeted killing of top Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani and subsequent retaliation by Iran targeting U.S. military bases in Iraq.

Imran Khan in his tweet on January 8 also asked the country’s military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to contact relevant military authorities to convey a clear message that “Pakistan is ready to play its role for peace but can never again be part of any war.”

Khan's statement comes a day after General Bajwa received a telephone call from the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on January 7. Bajwa had offered him "sound counsel." Esper said in a tweet that he always "appreciates" talking to U.S. partners and allies in the region, and repeated that everyone seeks de-escalation of tensions with Iran.

The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 5 had issued a statement saying that Pakistan will not "let its soil be used against any other state," and will not become part of "any regional conflict."