Voicing its opposition to any coercive measures in Syria, Pakistan said that it could worsen an already volatile situation in the troubled country.

These remarks were made by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at a hurriedly called ministerial level consultative meeting on Syria which opened in Tehran, the capital of Iran.

The meeting, held a few days before an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called by Saudi Arabia on Syria, demonstrates the strained relations between the two Middle East powers.

It was attended by delegates from 28 countries and is seen as Iran’s attempt to garner support against regime change in Syria. It was looking to find a sustainable solution to the burgeoning humanitarian crisis after the United Nations failed to rein in the warring parties.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister said the need to find mutually agreeable political solution to the impending crisis, adding that prolonged instability in Syria would have serious consequences for the Muslim Ummah.

She further said why Islamabad abstained from voting for the UN resolution on Syria last month, explaining that Pakistan opposed any outside intervention which could worsen an already complex situation.

Highlighting Pakistan’s belief in the principles of territorial integrity and respect for national sovereignty of member states, the foreign minister said that “we also need to be mindful that the way we deal with any particular crisis becomes a precedent to be emulated in future.”

Hosting Iranian Foreign Minister Minister Ali Akbar Salehi restated that Tehran firmly believes that the Syrian crisis can only be resolved through serious and inclusive talks between the government and opposition groups that enjoy popular support in Syria.

International attempts to negotiate a peace deal broke down after UN special envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, resigned from his post, citing finger pointing and lack of sincerity in working towards a peaceful resolution.

The deepening crisis, which has resulted in approximately 17,000 deaths so far, is threatening to hurl the country in to civil war as opposition to Bashar Assad’s regime gains force.

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