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Pakistan calls for resumption of Middle East peace process: Masood Khan

Islamabad, October 16, 2012 (PPI-OT): Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to support full membership of the UN for Palestine, as well as the Palestinian Authority’s initiative to achieve the status of “Non-Member Observer State” as an interim measure, Ambassador Masood Khan expressed his country’s complete solidarity with the Palestine cause, says a press release received here today from New York.

Ambassador Masood Khan, who has recently assumed the office of Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, was speaking in the Security Council quarterly open debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”, on Monday.
Applauding the Palestinian Authority’s State-building efforts, he called on the Security Council to re-engage and refocus on the Palestinian issue. He also called for resumption of direct and meaningful negotiations, ending of the cycle of violence and addressing the grave humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “If there is no movement towards resumption of the suspended peace process, the human rights and humanitarian situations of Palestinians living under occupation would continue to deteriorate”, he said.

Referring to Secretary General report, which stated that there has been little progress in the past year. Ambassador Masood said that this trend was disappointing as the current impasse in the peace process is undermining the viability of a two-State solution.

He said that the illegal Israeli settlement policy has remained the biggest roadblock to the resumption of the Middle East peace process. “The illegal blockade of the territory and the collective punishment being meted out to the population of Gaza must cease”, the ambassador said.

Drawing the attention of the Security Council on the growing threat due to recent intensification of military bombardment on the Gaza Strip, he said the lack of political perspective for the Palestinian youth and the continuing settler attacks on Muslim and Christian Holy sites would fuel violence in the area.

Ambassador Masood called for the resolution of Palestine issue in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, the Madrid Principles and the Quartet Roadmap. A resolution of the final status issues, he said should lead to the establishment of an independent and viable State of Palestine on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. He said lasting peace in the region could only be achieved if Israel withdraws its forces from all occupied lands, including those of Lebanon and the Syrian Golan.

Commenting on the crisis in Syria, ambassador Masood said that an early peaceful solution of the situation in Syria, in full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, is in the best interest of the people of Syria; and for peace and stability in the region.

Expressing support for the efforts of the Secretary General and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, Ambassador Masood said that the first priority is to bring about an immediate ceasefire to create an environment amenable to promoting diplomatic effort. “Violence should not spin out of control. Conflict should not expand. Above all, diplomacy should prevail”, he said.

Earlier, Under Secretary General for Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations, Jeffrey Feltman, briefed the Council. In addition to Council members and a number of non-members, representatives of Palestine and Israel also took the floor.

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