United States Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper on Wednesday telephoned Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss a recent escalation in the Middle East following the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, ISPR said in a statement.

Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor took to Twitter saying, COAS received a telephone call from US Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper and both leaders discussed the ongoing security situation in the Middle East.

“US doesn’t want to seek conflict, but will respond forcefully if necessary,” said ISPR as quoting US Defence secretary

The COAS Bajwa said that Pakistan would like situation to de-escalate and support all initiatives which bring peace in the region.

“We call upon all concerned to avoid rhetoric in favour of diplomatic engagement. We all have worked a lot to bring peace in the region by fighting against terrorism,” said COAS.

“We will continue to play our constructive part towards the success of Afghan reconciliation process so that it doesn’t get derailed and region goes towards conflict resolution instead of new conflicts”, added ISPR as quoting Army Chief Gen. Bajwa.