Islamabad: A Pakistani minister says, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will pay an official visit to Saudi Arabia and Iran next week in an attempt to mend soured relations between Tehran and Riyadh. Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said Saturday that Sharif would depart Monday for Riyadh, where he will meet with King Salman. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are longtime allies. On Tuesday Sharif will meet with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.
On Monday, Sharif will travel to Riyadh where he is expected to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid said. The following day, the Pakistani premier will arrive in Tehran to meet with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Sharif will be accompanied by Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif in his trips. On Friday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said President Xi Jinping will also visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran from January 19-23.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following Tehran’s condemnation of the kingdom’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Russia as well as several European and regional countries have expressed readiness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran says it will not allow Saudi Arabia’s provocations to adversely affect ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Syria and Yemen.