Gulf Peace Initiative
PM Khan’s diplomatic Effort to Put an End to Saudi-Iran Hostility
Saudi-Iran conflict rather rivalry has not only divided the Muslim community but has also weakened it from its core. Since last three decades, Saudi-Iran relations have been soured rather deteriorated owing to multiple reasons. After the Arab spring, the bilateral relations not only worsened but transformed in to the bilateral enmity. The power struggle, ideological difference, trust deficit and political alliances of both the states turned them into foes and adversaries, hence, leading towards a bipolar Muslim world. The recent attacks of 14th September by Houthi rebels on the Oil producing installations of KSA brought KSA and Iran at the brink of war that could’ve escalated to the entire region and could’ve given the international policeman a chance of waging a full blow war against Iran. At this critical juncture, Pakistan’s soft diplomatic efforts not only helped averting the war but also paved the way for mediation between these two states. Pakistan -known for its facilitating role towards peace and peace talks- used the tool of diplomacy to ease the tension between the giants of Persian Gulf.
We recognize that it is a complex issue but we feel that it can be resolved through dialogue. What should never happen is a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. (PM Imran Khan)
P.M. Khan like his predecessors believes in peace talks and dialogue based approach for conflict resolution. Therefore, he himself traveled to Tehran and Riyadh to play the role of facilitator. He even offered Islamabad as a venue for Saudi-Iran bilateral talks. PM Khan along with his team traveled to Tehran for a day long official visit. He met President Hassan Rouhani and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The leaders discussed the ongoing situation the region and the spillover effects of any brinkmanship. PM Khan, while stressing on the dialogue based strategy of conflict resolution, highlighted the fact that Pakistan sacrificed upto 70000 people owing to war, Afghanistan is suffering the scourge of war and Syria is still under the attack of warmongers. He shunned the war approach and stated, “We recognize that it is a complex issue but we feel that it can be resolved through dialogue. What should never happen is a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran because this will not just affect this whole region — two brotherly countries will be affected — this will cause poverty in the world. Oil prices will go up. There is vested interest behind this conflict.” He further said, “I will go to Saudi Arabia with a positive mind. We would like to play the role of a facilitator and not mediator. We want to facilitate two brotherly Islamic countries.” PM Khan showed the willingness towards facilitating the talks between Saudi-Iran leadership upon which the Iranian President welcomed Khan’s move and stated, “I told Prime Minster Imran we welcome any gesture by Pakistan for peace in the region and appreciate his visit to our country. Regional issues have to be resolved through regional means and dialogue. We also emphasized that any goodwill gesture will be responded with a goodwill gesture and good words.”
Pakistan has urged the Saudi-Iran leadership to pursue the 4D approach - diplomacy, dialogue, discussion and defuse.
After Tehran, PM Khan along with his team went on an official tour to Riyadh to meet KingSalman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud. Both sides discussed regional peace and security, international politics and bilateral relations. PM Khan urged Saudi leadership to adopt an amicable way of resolving the ongoing Saudi-Iran crisis. He noted to have delivered positive and welcoming response of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pertaining to peace talks. As per the statement of Prime Minister Office, the talks with Saudi leadership were comprehensive and constructive, both the sides agreed on remaining engaged and continuing consultation to avert direct confrontation. Saudi leadership acknowledged PM Khan’s efforts towards promoting peace and stability in the region and agreed to take forward PM Imran's Gulf peace initiative. According to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s prime objective for Gulf Peace Initiative was to prevent the direct military confrontation that could have had gruesome impact for the entire region. He Summarized the outcome of PM Khan’s Gulf Peace Initiative by stating, “If I were to present to you the crux of our discussion, I would say that the clouds of war and conflict that had gathered over the region are now dispersing.”
Conclusively, it appears that once again Pakistan has not only diplomatically averted war but has also carved the path for future mediation between adversaries. Pakistan has urged the Saudi-Iran leadership to pursue the 4D approach-diplomacy, dialogue, discussion and defuse. It is high time for both Saudi Arabia and Iran to use table instead of proxies for resolution of bilateral issues. In order to avert war, it is incumbent on both states to adopt the diplomatic approach for it is the doctrine of necessity. Therefore, in this scenario dialogue appears to be the best course to solve Saudi-Iran labyrinth.