Saturday Oct 12, 2019
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has welcomed efforts for mediation with Saudi Arabia ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the country.
"We've always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbor. We're going to be here together permanently," Zarif said in an interview with TRT World.
"We don't have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries," Zarif noted.
When asked about PM Imran’s upcoming visit to Tehran, Zarif said, "We've never rejected any intermediary... We've always been open to mediation, and we've always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbors."
The Foreign Office on Thursday said PM Imran was likely to visit Saudi Arabia and Iran, weeks after Islamabad said Washington had asked it to mediate with Tehran.
“The possibility of a visit of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia and Iran is on the cards,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said during his weekly news briefing on Thursday.
The announcement of the possible visit comes after PM Imran last month said that US President Donald Trump had asked him to help defuse tensions in the Middle East.
The prime minister, after a meeting with the US president on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, had said that he was “trying and mediating” and had also spoken with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Washington had blamed Tehran for an attack on the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago.
Moreover, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said PM Imran was reportedly carrying a message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Voice of America reported.
With additional information from Reuters