Mike Pompeo phones COAS Gen Bajwa to discuss escalating US-Iran tensions

Mike Pompeo phones COAS Gen Bajwa to discuss escalating US-Iran tensions

Rawalpindi (Web Desk): United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telephoned Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday to discuss the recent escalations in the Middle East following the killing of Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani.

In a tweet, the US Secretary of State said, "#Pakistan's Chief of Staff General Bajwa and I spoke today about U.S. defensive action to kill Qassem Soleimani. The #Iran regime’s actions in the region are destabilizing and our resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities, and partners will not waver".

In a separate tweet, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said that the two leaders discussed regional situation, including possible implications of recent escalation in the Middle East.

He said that the army chief emphasised the need for maximum restraint and constructive engagement by all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation in broader interest of regional peace and stability.

DG ISPR added that the COAS also reiterated the need for maintaining focus on success of Afghan peace process.

Earlier, Pakistan advised both the US and Washington and Iranto refrain from taking 'unilateral action' against each other and abide by the UN charter to respect each other's territorial integrity.

In a statement, the Foreign Office (FO) Sokesperson said "Pakistan has viewed with deep concern the recent developments in the Middle East, which seriously threaten peace and stability in the region".

"All parties are urged to exercise maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means, in accordance with UN Charter and international law", the FO statement said.

Major General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds force and spearhead of Iran’s spreading military influence in the Middle East, was killed on Friday when US military helicopters targeted his vehicle at Baghdad airport, the Pentagon confirmed.

Declaring three days of mourning across the country, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to take "severe revenge" for Soleimani´s death.

The Pentagon said US President Donald Trump ordered Soleimani's "killing," after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy.