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Pakistan launches efforts to end Riyadh-Tehran standoff

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif at Al-Yamamah Palace on Monday to discuss bilateral ties and Middle East tensions. Sharif, who was accompanied by Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif and several other ministers, held talks about efforts to end rifts between Iran and the Kingdom. Sharif is expected to visit Tehran on his return home, and will meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

According to the Pakistan foreign office, the purpose of the visit is to ease tensions between the two Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries, with an emphasis on resuming dialogue. The foreign office issued a statement on Sunday stating that Pakistan was deeply concerned at the standoff between the two countries. “The prime minister has called for a resolution of differences through peaceful means, in the larger interest of Muslim unity particularly during these challenging times,” the statement said.
Saudi Arabia and Iran back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after the attacks on its diplomatic posts, which followed the execution of several terrorists in the Kingdom. The meeting was attended by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar; Prince Mansour bin Miteb, minister of state, also adviser to the king; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Others on the Saudi side were Mohammed Al-Aiban, minister of state; Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf; Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
On the Pakistani side, the meeting was attended by Tareq Fatemi, minister of state for foreign affairs and Manzour Al-Haq, Pakistan's ambassador to the Kingdom. A reception was also held later for the Pakistani delegation.

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