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Imran khan can play good role to mediate SAUDI-Iran tension

From long time Tensions have been brewing between Tehran and Riyadh that spread out more since the missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities last month. Both Saudi Arabia and the US have blamed Iran for the drone strikes, claimed by the Houthi rebels.

In 2016, Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif mediated between Saudi and Iran in a bid to defuse tensions between the two countries that soared after the hanging of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia.

Addressing a round table conference hosted by the Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI) on ‘Mediation in the Persian Gulf: Initiatives, Strategies and Obstacles’, former Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry noted that Pakistan has strong credentials for such a role, but at the same time there are huge challenges including deep mistrust, Saudi fears about rising Iranian influence and regional power play.

“This is a timely and historic initiative. We, however, have to be realistic because of the difficult and complex issues involved in this rivalry,” Chaudhry (former foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry ) said, adding that if these disputes were not addressed now, global politics would further deepen the gulf.

“He suggested that during the trip Khan should warn leaders of both the countries about the consequences of war, seek a minimum common agenda on which the effort could be taken forward, offer to host a summit or a senior leadership meeting of both countries in Pakistan, and renew good offices to both countries.

The minimum agenda, he said, could be an understanding on not attacking each other and uninterrupted oil traffic.

Arab Affairs Analyst Ali Mehr was sceptical about the mediation initiative and said that Khan could at the best play the role of a messenger between the two countries. He warned about the US role and influence on Saudi Arabia saying it could prevent any breakthrough in the initiative.

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