ISLAMABAD               -         Pakistan and Iran on Friday vowed to expand ties and work together for peace in the region as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a meeting with newly-appointed Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Syed Muhammad Ali Hussaini here and reiterated Pakistan’s stance to defuse tension in the Middle East.

The two sides agreed that Pakistan and Iran enjoyed historical ties and efforts were being made to enhance the cooperation, said an official statement.

The foreign minister said that he was in touch with various foreign ministers of the region and on the special direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he will be visiting Iran and other countries very soon to discuss US-Iran conflict as wear was in no one’s interest.

Iranian envoy assured that he will use all his efforts to further expand bilateral relations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also telephoned his Iraqi counterpart Mohamed Ali al-Hakim to discuss the US-Iran tension. In a telephonic conversation, FM Qureshi expressed concerns over increasing tensions in the region and urged to resolve the matter in the light of international law.

He said the two sides will have to defuse tension to pave way for talks.  Pakistan, he said, supports a dialogue process to resolve the issues.

Qureshi said he had been speaking to counterparts in the region to find a peaceful resolution to the tension.

“The two ministers agreed to remain in contact and work for peace in the region,” an official statement said.

FM Qureshi later telephoned his Bahrain counterpart Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Khalifa. The two discussed the regional tension and agreed to play a positive role for peace, said an official statement. The Bahrain FM appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to defuse US-Iran tension.

Separately, Foreign Minister Qureshi held extensive discussions with Academics, Think Tank Analysts and intellectuals on January 9 as part of his FM Connect series.

Qureshi had introduced FM Connect in 2019. “It is a holistic concept based on the principle of fostering greater interaction between relevant stakeholders and the foreign minister. Keeping an informal and interactive format, the foreign minister has opened the doors to his office to promote an exchange of ideas and discussion,” said a foreign ministry statement.

In the first two sessions, Foreign Minister Qureshi met international correspondents based in Pakistan and the Business community respectively.

The third edition of FM Connect brought together researchers, intellectuals, academics and experts who shared their views and made suggestions to the Foreign Minister on international issues.

The Foreign Minister thanked them for their valuable feedback on harmonizing foreign policy with modern requirements. In reaching out to seasoned academics and intellectuals for their insight, the aim was to positively impact Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, and gives a broader exposure and perspective to the governments’ vision to ultimately create forward looking and progressive policies for Pakistan.

FM Connect is in line with the Foreign Minister Imran Khan’s commitment to drive the Foreign Office into a modern era of communications, collaboration and innovation, said the statement.