ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday expressed his concern over deficiency of unity and continued conflicts among the Muslim countries and lamented the humanitarian crisis being faced by the people of Yemen.

He was talking to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Dr Javad Zarif who called on him, PM office media wing in a press release said.

The prime minister offered his personal mediation to help resolve the crisis in Yemen, if all parties concerned agreed to this mediation.

During the meeting, bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest were discussed.

The visiting Iranian minister conveyed personal greetings and commitment of President Rouhani to work closely with Prime Minister Imran Khan for further strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Reciprocating President Rouhani’s message, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his desire to further strengthen the political and economic relations with Iran.

The prime minister said improving relations with all the neighbouring countries was one of his government’s key foreign policy priorities. He conveyed his best wishes for the leadership and the people of Iran.

Earlier, Pakistan and Iran vowed to enhance defence ties amid US sanctions on Tehran and tension with Islamabad.

Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif called on Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi here and discussed bilateral ties and regional issues. This was his second visit to Islamabad after formation of new government in Pakistan.

The foreign ministry said: “Both sides underscored the need to promote bilateral relations in all areas including political, economic and defence cooperation. Detailed discussions were also held on regional and global issues including situation in Afghanistan and ways to work together in the wake of re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran.”

In his previous meeting in August with Zarif, Qureshi had assured Pakistan’s support to Iran over its ‘principled stance’ on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the P5+1 and the European Union.

Qureshi had then said that Pakistan supported Iran’s principled stance and expressed the hope that parties other than the US to the agreement would uphold their commitments in ‘letter and spirit.’

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed his desire to strengthen the existing strong bilateral relations with Iran.

He maintained that frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries manifested the warmth in bilateral relations. “Pakistan and Iran enjoy close brotherly relations. Both countries have stood by each other in difficult moments. Growing challenges in the region provide Pakistan and Iran an opportunity to work even closer,” he was quoted as saying by the foreign ministry.

The two also discussed the abduction of 12 members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards from Iran in mid-October. Pakistan and Iran militaries, under a joint mechanism established since last year, are working to ascertain the whereabouts of Iranian guards.

Earlier, the Directors General Military Operations from the two sides were coordinating actions in this regard. The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s top security force, said in a statement carried on Iranian state television, that the IRG personnel had been abducted by a militant group at a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Qureshi and Zarif expressed satisfaction over cooperation with regard to Pakistan-Iran border. It was also agreed to continue close consultations through the established multipronged mechanism between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Qureshi underlined that the Pakistan-Iran border was a border of peace and Pakistan will spare no effort to keep it this way.

The Iranian Foreign Minister reiterated that Pak-Iran relations were deep rooted in complete trust and solidarity. “The detractors will not succeed in weakening our mutual resolve to further strengthening our cooperation,” he said. Qureshi said that this objective could be achieved through better communication, mutual trust and understanding. He stressed that Pakistan greatly valued Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s strong and unswerving support for the just struggle of the people of Kashmir.

According to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, Foreign Minister Zarif put forward plans for improving security along the common border with Pakistan and joint action by the two neighbours in the fight against criminals and terrorist groups.

In the meeting with Qureshi, Zarif proposed a series of plans to strengthen security along the common border. The top Iranian diplomat has travelled to Pakistan for talks on the fate of a number of Iranian border guards who have been abducted by a Pakistani-based terrorist group.

For his part, Qureshi highlighted the “friendly and brotherly” ties between Tehran and Islamabad, stressing the need for sharing intelligence in the battle against terrorism. He also gave an assurance that Pakistan will make every effort to ensure security along the common border with Iran.