Pakistan Says Mediation Between Saudi and Iran Going Slowly

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump greets Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

DUBAI, Aug 3  – Pakistan’s U.S.-requested mediation efforts between the Persian Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran have been making slow progress, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday.

Prompted by Washington, former cricket great Khan in October visited Tehran and Riyadh to facilitate talks after attacks on the Persian Gulf oil interests that the United States blamed on Iran.

“Our mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia has not stopped and we are making progress, but slowly,” Khan told Al Jazeera in extracts the broadcaster released from an interview to be aired in full on Wednesday.

“We have done our best to avoid a military confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and our efforts have succeeded,” Qatar-based Al Jazeera also reported Khan as saying.

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Shi’ite Muslim Iran has long been at odds with U.S. Sunni Arab ally Saudi Arabia.

U.S.-Iranian frictions worsened when President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew in mid-2018 from an accord limiting Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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