Pakistan and Iran announce return of ambassadors, Iran’s FM to visit Islamabad to restore ties

Pakistan and Iran have mutually agreed to reinstate their ambassadors by January 26, according to a joint statement issued by Tehran and Islamabad on Monday.

The two sides expressed a commitment to rebuild relations in the aftermath of the recent exchange of missile attacks on each other’s border regions. These attacks last week deteriorated Iran-Pakistan relations and significantly increased tensions.

The foreign ministers of both countries discussed the issue on a phone call.

“Following [a] telephone conversation between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, it has been mutually agreed that ambassadors of both countries may return to their respective posts by January 26, 2024,” said the statement.

Tensions between the two countries heightened last week when Iran claimed to have struck a “terrorist hideout” in the border town of Panjgur in the southwestern Balochistan province of Pakistan, prompting Islamabad to recall its ambassador from Tehran.

In less than 48 hours after Iranian airstrikes, Pakistani forces “targeted militants’ hideouts” in a village in Saravan city of Sistan-Baluchestan province in a military operation codenamed Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar.

Over the past six days, the two countries engaged in tit-for-tat attacks but ultimately agreed to de-escalate tensions. This quick resolution suggested a shared interest in preventing further escalation, especially in the context of rising tensions in the Middle East.

Iranian FM to visit Pakistan next week

In another proactive step towards reconciliation, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, is set to visit Pakistan on January 29, upon the invitation of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani. During this visit, the ministers will discuss the post-militant standoff situation and explore avenues to strengthen bilateral relations.

While tensions have eased, questions about the long-term implications of the military standoff remain. Both countries are expected to discuss future courses of action during the upcoming visit of Iran’s top diplomat. The focus will likely include mechanisms to prevent similar incidents in the future and address the root causes of the problems.

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