Pak PM, army chief to visit Saudi, Iran to reduce tensions

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Islamabad, Jan 16 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief, General Raheel Sharif, will visit Saudi Arabia and Iran to diffuse the tension between them that spiralled after the execution of Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.

The top civilian and military leaders would pay a day-long visit on Monday to meet Saudi King Salman and will discuss with him the latest situation in the Middle East and the kingdom’s relations with Iran, Dawn reported.

The next stopover will be in Tehran where meetings will be held with the top Iranian leadership aimed at defusing tension with its arch rival Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran, a few days days after Iranian demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in protest at Riyadh’s execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and some other states broke off ties with Iran over the attack. The UAE downgraded relations while some others recalled their envoys in protest.

The Iranian government quickly distanced itself from the attack, saying the protesters entered the Saudi embassy despite widespread efforts by the police to stop them.

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