Baku, Azerbaijan, April 8
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Senior Pakistani official says that the country can play a positive role in repairing Saudi Arabia-Iran relations.
We have been in the past, and we will have to remain a factor of unity in the Muslim world, spokesperson of the Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tasnim Aslam told Trend news agency on April 8.
"While it is up to Iran and Saudi Arabia to resolve their issues, if they have any, and if we can be of any help we will always try to be," she underlined.
It should be noted that the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have the aspiration of taking the leadership role in the region yet the two countries are poles apart politically.
While Iran is supporting the Lebanese Shiaa Movement Hezbollah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia is a key supporter of the Syrian opposition.
Saudi Arabia's concerns over Iran are mainly related to its plans of expanding influence to other parts of the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia also stands against Iran's nuclear program.
Aslam said that Pakistan has excellent relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, adding that "we keep a balance in our relationship with various Muslim countries."
Commenting on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's upcoming visit to Iran, the spokesperson said that the leaders will probably hold talks on bilateral relations, economic and political issues, and trade, investment as well.
She also underlined that obviously there would be also talks on regional issues.
While responding a question about some security-based tensions between Iran and Pakistan, Aslam said that there are a lot of positive things between the two countries.
"Obviously we have a long history. Pakistani culture and language are heavily influenced by Persian language," she said, adding that "if we talk about overall relationship, there are a lot of positive things."
Commenting on the current situation of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project the spokesperson said that Pakistan is looking for conclusion that would help to build the pipeline, but they called the sanctions on Iran, and no company is ready to get involved.
"Despite this, we are very much connected to this project, and we're looking at different options that the two countries can work on, and build the pipeline," Aslam added.
She also remarked that under the contract, Iran was committed to provide $500 million for building the pipeline, however because of the sanctions, there has been a delay.
The gas pipeline dubbed "Peace Pipeline" project was originally initiated between Iran and Pakistan.
The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is projected to cost $1.2-1.5 billion, and will allow exporting 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.
While responding a question about attracting a third party to invest in the project Aslam said "that option was open, and because of the sanctions, nobody has been willing to get involved."