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Pakistan Calls On Iran, Saudi Arabia To Resolve Differences

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed "deep concern" about the growing rift between Iran and Saudi Arabia and called on the two nations to peacefully resolve their differences.

After meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Islamabad, Sharif decrued "the escalation of the situation and condemned the burning down of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran," his office said. "The prime minister called for resolution of differences through peaceful means in the larger interest of Muslim unity."

Pakistan borders Iran and has a large Shi'ite minority. It has sought to avoid taking sides to avoid fanning sectarian violence at home.

Moreover, Pakistan wants to deepen trade links with both Iran and Saudi Arabia, particularly increasing access to their vast energy resources to fuel its energy-poor economy.

It hopes to finish a major gas pipeline to Iran if sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear program are lifted.

But Sharif has also cultivated a close alliance with Saudi Arabia, where he spent time in political exile in the 2000s.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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