External interference major cause of Middle East instability: Maleeha

New York, 27 April, 2018

Pakistan told the UN that instability in the Middle East was the result of big power politics and divergent interests of regional states, that has led to suffering for millions of people in the region.

“Big power rivalries, combined with the divergent policies and interests of major regional states, presage a period of continued conflict and instability in the region, and prolonged suffering for the millions of innocent victims”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi said while speaking in the Security Council debate on the Situation in the Middle East.

She warned the 15 member Council that “The region stands at a dangerous crossroads”, adding that the seething fires of conflict and violence threaten to exacerbate the multiple intersecting and overlapping regional fault-lines, thus presenting a greater risk to international peace and security than ever before.

Ambassador Lodhi urged the Security Council to analyze the reasons for the region’s “troubles”, as some characterize the Middle East as a ‘troubled’ place. Most of these troubles, she stressed, are a direct consequence of foreign occupation, annexation and intervention.

Highlighting the plight of the Palestinians, the Pakistani envoy said that in recent times, no people have suffered greater injustice than the people of Palestine. “During the past seventy years, they have been driven from their homes and their homeland, militarily occupied and obliged to live in conditions resembling apartheid”, she asserted.

Condemning Israel’s “cruel occupation and repression” during the ‘Great March of Return’ in Gaza, Pakistani envoy said that a peaceful protest was transformed into a callous killing zone by the occupying power, even as the world watched the wanton shooting of unarmed Palestinians on their television screens.

She also criticized the Security Council’s inability to even call for an independent and transparent investigation into the incidents, much less condemn the crimes of the occupying power. “The Palestinian demand for justice was met, once again, by arrogant dismissal”, she commented.

The world community, she noted, has long since recognized that peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, and other Arab and Muslim peoples, can only be built through a two-state solution.

Ambassador Lodhi pointed out that the international peace and stability cannot be promoted by denying freedom and justice to peoples living under foreign or alien occupation. “An illusionary one-state will perpetuate occupation and conflict and provide neither peace nor security”, she added.

Expressing grave concern about reports of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, Ambassador Lodhi condemned any use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere. “It is abhorrent and illegal and deserves unreserved condemnation”, she added.

Dr. Lodhi welcomed the deployment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission to Syria, and expressed confidence that its investigations would assist in establishing the facts. “At the same time, we reiterate our call on all sides to refrain from actions that are incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations and international law”, she stressed.

She concluded by cautioning that unless the value of human life and the rights of all peoples are respected; and unless the principles of the UN Charter are upheld, the Middle East - and other regions, near and far- may well be racing, towards unprecedented disaster.