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Iranian foreign minister in Pakistan

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Mohammad Javad ZarifIranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Pakistan for talks over the Yemen crisis, according to media reports.

Soon after his arrival, Zarif met Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, and shared details of the Iran-Turkey talks held in Tehran on Tuesday, Dawn online reported.

Zarif’s two-day visit to Pakistan comes amid heightened regional diplomacy over the Yemen conflict, and against the backdrop of Pakistan’s much-speculated participation in the Saudi-led military campaign against the Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Iranian foreign minister is scheduled to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday.

Zarif reached Islamabad from Oman, where he had gone for consultations on “the humanitarian plight in Yemen and regional developments”, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

The Iranian foreign minister is leading a 22-member delegation, which also includes Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Rahimpour.

Besides the Yemen crisis, Zarif will also discuss the state of Iran’s ties with Pakistan, particularly the old sore spot — cross-border terrorism allegedly by Pakistan-based groups in the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochestan.

The killing of eight Iranian guards on Monday along the border with Pakistan has renewed Iranian concerns.

“The visit will be in the framework of strengthening bilateral relations, surveying the regional and international developments, and boosting Iran-Pakistan border security,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham said.

Iran has expressed its interest in working with Pakistan on ending the Yemen dispute.

“We are willing to have necessary cooperation with Pakistan in the settlement of regional issues, particularly the issue of Yemen,” Iranian Interior Minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, said on Sunday night.

Talking to Iranian official news agency IRNA, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran, Noor Mohammad Jademani, hoped for a peaceful settlement of the Yemen crisis and said that peace in Yemen was in the interest of the entire Muslim world.