UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi has welcomed the recent political reconciliation between the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, saying a prompt resolution of the Palestinian issue was crucial for regional as well as global peace and security.
Speaking in the Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East, Lodhi said although magnanimous, only this bit of positive development was not enough to tip scales of justice in favour of the Palestinians who continue to suffer under the Israeli occupation.
“A viable, independent and a 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.
Lodhi said that the aspirations of the Palestinian people to live a life of freedom and dignity still remain a distant and elusive ideal, even after 50 years have passed since their homeland was illegally occupied by Israel.
“As a first step, the illegal and oppressive siege of Gaza by Israel must be lifted”, she insisted.
Lodhi also warned the Council that any one-sided attempts by Israel to alter the status quo in the old city of Jerusalem would not be acceptable to Muslims all around the world.
“Creating alternate ‘facts on the ground’ cannot change historic realities or neutralise the legal rights of people living under foreign occupation, in Palestine, and elsewhere”, she said.
She also called for greater cooperation and coordination between the regional states, noting that challenges confronting the Middle East were of an extremely complex nature.
She urged the international community to renew its resolve to sustain positive momentum and the illegal and oppressive siege of Gaza by Israel must be lifted.
On Iraq, Maleeha Lodhi reaffirmed Pakistan’s unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of brotherly Iraqi people. “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.
Referring to continuing crisis in Syria, Ambassador Lodhi said political reconciliation is 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 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.”