14:32 GMT +321 August 2019
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    Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019

    PM Khan’s First Iran Visit Confirmed Amid Pakistan’s Bonding With Saudi Arabia

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    After reportedly signing agreements with Saudi Arabia worth $20 billion during a visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan this February, Islamabad is turning towards Riyadh’s regional adversary, Tehran.

    The Pakistani Foreign Ministry has stated that the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to head to Iran for the first time this month, local media reports. According to the ministry’s spokesman Mohammad Faisal, the details of the trip have been finalised and will be announced at a later point, as well as the exact date of the two-day visit. 

    It is known that Khan is expected to travel to Iran with his country’s ministers of foreign affairs, economy, and environment, as well of National Tourism Coordination Board Chairman Zulfikar Bukhari. According to the Foreign Ministry, the trip has been planned for months, but had been delayed due to various reasons.

    The announcement came just two months after the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is one of the leading figures in Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, to Pakistan. During the trip, seven bilateral agreements, mostly energy-related, worth $20 billion were signed in the presence of the crown prince and Imran Khan. Among other things, they officially agreed on the supply of oil and oil products from Saudi Arabia, as well as signed memorandums of understanding on the development of oil refining and the petrochemical industry, electricity, and renewable energy sources in Pakistan. 

    READ MORE: Riyadh, Islamabad Sign Investment Deals Worth $20Bln — Reports

    Apart from economic cooperation, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also suggested that Islamabad could help mediate the spat between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. 

    At the same time, Pakistan recently declined to participate in next week’s Doha talks with the Taliban, the US and the Afghan government on the Afghan peace process. This followed a controversy in March between the two countries, when Afghanistan recalled its ambassador from Islamabad in response to Khan's suggestion that forming an interim Afghan government might smooth out peace talks between US and Taliban officials. However, the diplomat returned after Pakistan's Foreign Ministry stated that the remark had been reported out of context.

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    Tags:
    economy, state visit, diplomacy, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Imran Khan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran
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