ISLAMABAD: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Pakistan today for talks over the Yemen crisis.
Zarif’s two-day visit to Pakistan comes amid heightened regional diplomacy over Yemen. Soon after arrival, Zarif met adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and shared details of the Iran-Turkey talks held in Tehran yesterday.
Zarif reached Islamabad from Oman, where he had gone for consultations on “the humanitarian plight in Yemen and regional developments”, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.
The Iranian foreign minister is leading a 22-member delegation, which includes Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Rahimpour, DG West Asia Affairs Rasool Islami and a media adviser.
In Islamabad, besides the Yemen crisis, Mr Zarif will also discuss the state of bilateral ties, particularly the old sore spot in the relationship — the cross-border terrorism allegedly by Pakistan-based groups in the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochestan.
The killing of eight Iranian guards on Monday along the border with Pakistan has renewed Iranian concerns.
“The visit will be in the framework of strengthening bilateral relations, surveying the regional and international developments, and boosting Iran-Pakistan border security,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham said.
Mr Zarif has also requested a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to a Pakistani official involved in preparations for the trip.
His visit has been on the cards for a few weeks, but got delayed because of negotiations with P5+1 over the nuclear programme. Taking place against the backdrop of Yemen conflict and Pakistan’s much speculated participation in the Saudi-led military coalition, the Iranian officials say that Yemen would dominate the agenda.
Iran has been expressing its interest in working with Pakistan on ending the Yemen dispute.
“We are willing to have necessary cooperation with Pakistan in the settlement of regional issues, particularly the issue of Yemen,” Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said at a ceremony at Pakistan Embassy in Tehran on Sunday night.
Talking to Iranian official news agency IRNA, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Noor Mohammad Jademani expressed the hope for a peaceful settlement of the Yemen crisis and said that peace in Yemen was in the interest of the entire Muslim world.
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