Iran president to visit Pakistan this week

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will make an official visit to Pakistan this week, Islamabad said on Sunday, as the two Muslim neighbors seek to mend ties after tit-for-tat missile strikes in January.

The visit, which Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said would take place from Monday to Wednesday, had been in doubt as Middle East tensions rose after Iran launched an unprecedented attack on Israel a week ago and central Iran received what sources said was an Israeli attack on Friday.

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Pakistan has signaled since January that Raisi would visit, and the prime minister said last week the visit would take place “very soon.”

Tehran has played down Friday’s apparent Israeli attack and indicated it had no plans for retaliation, a response that appeared gauged towards keeping the Israel-Gaza war from expanding to a regionwide conflict.

During his visit Raisi will meet Pakistan’s president and prime minister, the chairman of the Senate and speaker of the National Assembly, Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement.

“They will also discuss regional and global developments and bilateral cooperation to combat the common threat of terrorism,” the statement said.

Raisi will visit major cities including Lahore and Karachi and focus on bilateral and trade ties, it said.

Pakistan has called on all parties in the Middle East to “exercise utmost restraint and move towards de-escalation.”

Iran and Pakistan have had a history of rocky relations, but the missile strikes in January were the most serious incidents in years.

Swift efforts to lower the temperature subsequently led to assurances that they respected each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while vowing to expand security cooperation.

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