Iran-Pakistan: Two foreign ministers meet, Pak says ready to work with Iran on 'all issues'
The contact follows a call between the Pakistani foreign minister and his Turkish counterpart in which Islamabad said "Pakistan has no interest or desire in escalation"
A day after Pakistan carried out strikes in Iran, Pakistani foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani has spoken to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian and wants to normalize ties. Fears of regional conflict grew after tit-for-tat airstrikes on each other's territory on Thursday.
"Foreign Minister Jilani expressed Pakistan's readiness to work with Iran on all issues based on spirit of mutual trust and cooperation," a statement from Pakistan's foreign office said. "He underscored the need for closer cooperation on security issues."
The contact follows a call between Jilani and his Turkish counterpart in which Islamabad said "Pakistan has no interest or desire in escalation." Amirabdollahian, in comments quoted by Iran’s state media, said, "Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity are of great interest to us and bilateral cooperation is essential to neutralize and destroy terrorist camps on Pakistani soil."
The statement followed after top Pakistani civilian and military leaders held an emergency meeting to review the tense security situation amid the standoff with Iran. Islamabad said on Thursday that it had launched air strikes on insurgents in Iran, two days after Tehran struck alleged "terrorist targets" inside the South Asian country.
Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chaired the National Security Committee meeting, his office said. The country's powerful army chief and heads of intelligence agencies were part of the meeting, which aimed at a "broad national security review in the aftermath of the Iran-Pakistan incidents", Pakistani Information Minister Murtaza Solangi told Reuters.
Fears of escalation and wider instability
The tit-for-tat air strikes across the porous border between the two neighbors have stoked tensions between nuclear-armed Sunni-majority Pakistan and Shiite-dominated Iran, and fueled fears of wider instability in the region. Iran is a major backer of militant groups in the Middle East, including Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Hamas and Hezbollah are designated terrorist groups by Germany, the US and Israel. Washington also added the Houthis to its terrorism list on Thursday.
Pakistan's former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar told DW that any concerns Iran had about terrorism or separatism should have been addressed through diplomatic channels rather than military action. "I can just certainly say Iran did a grotesquely stupid, wrong thing," she said. "I don't think Pakistan had many options. I'm not in government right now, I can speak openly."
The United Nations and the United States have appealed for restraint, while China has offered to mediate between the two countries. The European Union said on Thursday it was deeply worried about the "spiral of violence in the Middle East and beyond."