Iran and Pakistan have announced that they will resume diplomatic relations after recently swapping air strikes.

The two Islamic republics will return recalled ambassadors on January 26, they said in a joint statement issued on Monday, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian to visit his counterpart three days later. The announcement signals efforts to rebuild ties following the tit-for-tat missile attacks on one another’s border regions last week that saw relations nosedive and tensions spike.

The mutual strikes, the highest-profile cross-border intrusions in recent years, targeted what both sides called “terrorist” groups in the regions around their mutual border.

Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) hit the Jaish al-Adl armed group’s locations in the town of Panjgur in Pakistan’s Balochistan province late on Tuesday. Pakistan retaliated by bombing hideouts of armed Baloch separatists in the Sistan-Baluchestan province of Iran early on Thursday. Both regions are restive, mineral-rich and largely underdeveloped.

The attacks saw a swift and sharp deterioration in diplomatic relations between Islamabad and Tehran, with ambassadors withdrawn, official ties severed, and rhetoric raised in tone.

They also helped spread global alarm, with concern already high that Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza risks sparking a regional conflagration.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the two countries to “exercise maximum restraint to avoid a further escalation of tensions”.

Violence has flared across the Middle East since Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces, which has now killed more than 25,000 Palestinians. Fighting and air attacks have become regular in recent weeks in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and the Red Sea.

However, the two countries moved quickly to calm the situation, pledging to “de-escalate” and seek good neighbourly relations.

“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. (AlJazeera)