Pakistan also played a role in Saudi-Iran dialogue: FO

Mariana Baabar
Saturday, Mar 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD: As news of the revival of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran through the good offices of China was widely welcomed, Pakistan on Friday too tried to take credit, saying it had played a part in facilitating this dialogue.

“Pakistan, like several other countries and friends of both Iran and Saudi Arabia, had played its part in facilitating dialogue. In this context, I would also like to recall that the first meeting of the two foreign ministers took place in Islamabad on the sidelines of the OIC meeting,” the spokeswoman at Foreign Offices told the media.

She, while welcoming this development, said that it was obvious that this agreement was a result of China’s meditation efforts and the constructive talks that it had facilitated, and the two sides were able to resolve their differences.

“But we do not wish to take away credit from China in this latest agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia on normalisation of relations and congratulate them on their successful diplomatic efforts,” she added.

Pakistan had earlier welcomed the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran and commended China’s visionary leadership in coordinating this historic agreement.

“We believe that this diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond. We hope this normalisation will define a template for regional cooperation and harmony,” said the Foreign Office.

In response to reports that China has demanded overdue payments from Pakistan on the Chinese independent power plants installed under the CPEC, the spokeswoman said that these claims that have been made in the media have taken an inter-governmental conversation completely out of context by adding sensationalist jargon to it.

“Pakistan and China are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. China is a consistent, generous, and steadfast friend of Pakistan that has stood by Pakistan for the last several decades. China had come and invested in Pakistan’s power sector under CPEC when no foreign investor was ready to invest in Pakistan. This investment had resulted in economic development for the country and helped us overcome shortages and breakouts,” she explained.

“We are grateful to our Chinese friends for their consistent commitment to Pakistan, to CPEC, and for investments in Pakistan.

Pakistan and China, she added, will continue to consult closely on all matters and find optimal win-win outcomes.

The spokeswoman refrained from commenting on comments by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, saying Pakistan would never compromise on its nuclear strike capability for the revival of the stalled IMF package.

“First of all, I would not like to comment on a debate that is taking place in the Parliament. Secondly, I have said earlier and I would like to reiterate that the issues that you have mentioned about Pakistan’s nuclear programme are not on the agenda with any government, any financial institution, or any international organisation. This debate is just speculative, and I would not like to add to the speculation,” she responded.

She said that reports that are seen in the media may not always be an accurate reflection of the discussions that may be taking place.

Commenting on the August deal through which Australia is acquiring a nuclear-powered and fully armed submarine through the US and UK, the spokeswoman said: “We have seen the reports. Yesterday in the senior official talks, we had detailed conversations with the Australian side, and our position on developments in the region was clearly articulated. It was also an opportunity to understand their perspective. We believe all regional mechanisms must be inclusive, promote peace and dialogue, and aim for mutual welfare and prosperity.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dr. Asad Majeed Khan is currently in Beijing to lead the Pakistan delegation for the Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) with China. “The Chinese side is led by Vice-Foreign Minister Sun Weidong. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on the entire spectrum of bilateral ties and important regional and global developments. The Foreign Secretary will call on State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, meet CIDCA Chairman Lou Zhaouhui, and engage with Chinese academia and think tanks,” said the spokeswoman.