Iran ready for talks with Saudi Arabia: Abbas

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Welcomes efforts for mediation; Imran to leave for Tehran today, reaches Riyadh on Tuesday
Observer Report

Tehran/Islamabad

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has welcomed efforts for mediation with Saudi Arabia ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the country. “We’ve always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbour. We’re going to be here together permanently,” Zarif said in an interview with TRT World.
“We don’t have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries,” Zarif noted.When asked about PM Imran’s upcoming visit to Tehran, Zarif said, “We’ve never rejected any intermediary… We’ve always been open to mediation, and we’ve always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbours.” “Iran has announced that, with or without a mediator, it is always ready to hold talk with its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, to get rid of any misunderstandings,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said.
Asked about reports that Prime Minister Imran, due to arrive in Iran today, may try to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mousavi said: “I am not aware of any mediation,” according to state broadcaster IRIB.
Iran’s foreign minister signalled this week that his country would be willing to discuss regional issues with Saudi Arabia, but that Riyadh had to stop “killing people”.
The prime minister, after a meeting with the US president on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, had said that he was “trying and mediating” and had also spoken with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Meanwhile, with a mission to lessen the ongoing tension in the region, Prime Minister Imran Khan will leave for Iran on one-day visit today to mediate talks between Tehran and Riyadh.
The premier will meet top Iranian leadership including President Hassan Rouhani. Imran Khan will reach Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and take the Saudi government into confidence regarding his visit to Iran.
The PM is scheduled to meet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his one-day stay in the country. The prime minister will also highlight Kashmir issue in Tehran and Riyadh.
The groundwork for the prime minister’s mediation tour was laid during an unannounced visit of a top government official to Iran and Saudi Arabia in the last week of September, sources with the knowledge of the discreet diplomacy told media.
During his visit to both the capitals, the official held talks with senior Iranian and Saudi authorities to help defuse tensions.