Middle East Peace Prospects More Distant Than Ever: Maleeha

New York, 20 October, 2018

Pakistan told the UN Security Council that despair and despondency have been fueled in the Middle East by a series of events that have undermined any prospects of peace.

Speaking in the Security Council Debate on the Middle East, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that among these unfortunate developments was the flouting of long-standing resolutions of the Security Council on the status of Jerusalem.

The killing fields of Gaza, she said, continue to be drenched with the blood of innocent Palestinians. The Pakistani envoy reminded the 15-member Council that over 200 civilians had been killed since peaceful protests began in March 2018.

Ambassador Lodhi argued that “a systemic dismantling of the two-state solution” was taking place while the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements into occupied territory continued with intensity and impunity and in plain sight of the international community.

“We are at a particularly poignant juncture in the political history of the Middle East”, she maintained while stressing that Pakistan would continue to support all efforts that inspire hope of peace and mutual co-existence for the entire region.

Ambassador Lodhi said the international community must continue to lend its voice in support of a two-state solution based on agreed parameters including pre-1967 borders and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of the Palestinian state.

Regretting the recent US decision to end funding for the UN Agency working to provide relief and emergency assistance to Palestinian refugees Ambassador Lodhi said “the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians should not be mortgaged to political expediency and narrow interests”.

The decision, Ambassador Lodhi argued, risked unravelling the ‘peace dividend’ from the work of UNRWA which from its inception has served as a vehicle for political stability and social cohesion.

Reiterating Pakistan’s firm and abiding commitment to the Palestinian people, Ambassador Lodhi announced that Pakistan was giving an additional contribution to UNRWA to preserve the integrity of Agency’s core services to 5.3 million Palestinian refugees. She urged the international community to endavour collectively to this end.

Ambassador Lodhi also underscored the importance of negotiated settlements in Syria and Yemen, based on agreed frameworks and through inclusive political engagement.

The imperative for diplomatic solutions, she said, was more urgent that ever as instability and violence continue to ravage many parts of the Middle East.