Resolution of Palestinian issue essential for global peace and security: Pakistan

New York, 21 October, 2107

Pakistan has told the United Nations that resolution of the Palestinian issue was a fundamental pre-condition for regional as well as global peace and security.

Speaking in the Security Council debate on the Middle East, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that lack of progress on the Palestinian issue has not only betrayed the hopes and aspirations of generations of Palestinians but has also sowed the seeds of endless hostility and discord in the region.

“A viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only sustainable guarantee for enduring peace in the Middle East”, she stressed.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the illegal occupation of their homeland, Ambassador Lodhi said, the aspirations of the Palestinian people to live a life of freedom and dignity still remains a distant and elusive ideal.

She pointed out to the 15 member Council that discussions on the situation in the Middle East invariably become a somber reminder of the specter of violence and conflict that has afflicted millions across the region. “And nothing epitomizes this more than the plight of the Palestinian people”, she added.

Pakistan she said welcomed the political reconciliation forged between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo last week as a ‘landmark achievement’ and called upon the international community to renew its resolve to sustain this positive momentum.

While congratulating the Palestinians on this singular achievement she said that this development by itself was not enough to tip the scales of justice in favor of the long-suffering Palestinians.

“As a first step, the illegal and oppressive siege of Gaza by Israel must be lifted”, she insisted.

The Pakistani envoy lashed out at Israel's illegal policy constructing settlements in occupied territories and the systematic practice of dispossessing Palestinians of their homes and displacing them from their lands and livelihoods, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Ambassador Lodhi warned the Council that any unilateral attempts by Israel to alter or re-engineer the existing status quo in the old city of Jerusalem, was an unacceptable provocation for billions of Muslims around the world, and must cease.

“Creating alternate ‘facts on the ground’ cannot change historic realities or nuetralise the legal rights of people living under foreign occupation, in Palestine, and elsewhere”, she said.

Noting that challenges confronting the Middle East were myriad and complex and were also often mutually reinforcing and interlinked, Ambassador Lodhi called for greater cooperation and coordination between the regional states.

Pakistan reaffirmed its unequivocal support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the brotherly people of Iraq. “We are convinced that a solution to Iraq’s problems must be found within a united and inclusive Iraqi state, recognizing and reconciling the interests of all Iraqi people”, she said.

On the situation in Syria, Pakistan proposed a Syrian-led and Syrian-driven process of political reconciliation as the only pathway to lasting peace in that country. “The intra-Syrian talks are pivotal towards this end. We hope that the parties will show the necessary flexibility and compromise to bridge their differences” Dr. Lodhi added.

On the situation in Yemen, she called for a surge in diplomacy as well as humanitarian support to the millions of people in need across that country.

She concluded by saying that the international community's shared ideal of world peace should begin from the Middle East, quoting the UN Secretary General, who in his address to the General Assembly this year said: ‘We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace.’