NEW YORK: Pakistan has called on the United Nations to respond to the challenges posed by the unilateral moves to change the status of Jerusalem and the illegitimate settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory that have undermined the prospect of peace in the region.
“The United Nations, including the Security Council, have a central role in responding to these challenges,” Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the 15-member Council on Wednesday.
Speaking in a debate on the Middle East situation, Akram said the “tragedy of Palestine, at the heart of the turmoil in the region, shows no signs of ending amid Israel’s settlement expansion”.
“As illegal Israeli settlements expand into the occupied Palestinian territory, the vision of a two-state solution is being systematically reduced into a one-state reality,” he said.
The principle of land for peace and implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the Madrid Terms of Reference and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2000 are well-known elements for a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, he said.
“The international community must continue to promote the aim of creating ‘a viable, democratic sovereign and a contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security’,” the Pakistani envoy added.
Emphasizing that the situation in the Middle East posed a grave threat to international peace and security, Akram said even as old conflicts fester, new threats have emerged.
Pakistan, he said, has sought to defuse tensions between the United States and Iran. On the personal initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi recently visited Tehran, Riyadh and Washington, underscoring the need for mutual restraint, including recourse to dialogue.
The positive reaction from all sides is encouraging — and perhaps comprises a first step towards broad regional engagement.
“Pakistan will continue to be a partner for peace in the region,” Ambassador Akram told delegates from around the world.