Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday left on a three-day official visit to Iraq. This visit is being deemed important with regards to Saudi Arabia-Iran talks.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has been vocal about mediating between both countries and has tried to do shuttle diplomacy between Tehran and Riyadh in a bid to ease up hostility.

Last month, PM Imran welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s statement towards peace with Iran. He said, “Welcome Saudi initiative for peace with Iran. Saudi Arabia is our closest friend while Iran is our neighbour. This peace initiative will strengthen the Muslim Ummah.”

The two countries cut diplomatic ties in 2016 after tensions culminated in mob attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after Saudis beheading of leading Shia Muslim cleric Nimr Baqir-al-Nimr.

FM Qureshi is visiting Iran from May 28-31 on the invitation of his Iranian counterpart. This visit from FM Qureshi comes in the backdrop of a number of ministerial-level visits from both sides in the past few months.

During the visit, the FM Qureshi will also hold detailed discussions on bilateral cooperation with his counterpart. He will also review cooperation between the two countries in multilateral organisations, in particular the United Nations, its subsidiary organizations, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He will also exchange views on problems concerning Muslim Ummah, as well as global and regional issues of mutual interest.

Qureshi will also call on the leadership of Iraq and confer with senior Iraqi Ministers on bilateral matters pertaining to respective areas of cooperation, in particular the issues pertaining to the management and well-being of thousands of Pakistani Zaireen visiting sacred sites in Iraq every year.

Pakistan and Iraq enjoy long-standing fraternal ties rooted in shared faith, values and culture. The bilateral relations benefit from shared understanding and similarity of views on a number of regional and global issues.

The two countries continue to collaborate closely to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. In addition to growing bilateral political and defense ties, the two countries recently signed an agreement on cooperation between their Foreign Service Academies. Thousands of Pakistani zaireen visit Iraq every year with religious zeal and fervor.


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