ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday vowed continued support for Palestine’s stance regarding the eviction of illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
In separate meetings with the visiting Palestinian president, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain reiterated Pakistan’s continued support for the Palestinian cause.
President Mehmoud Abbas, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, was given a warm reception when he arrived at the Prime Minister House on Tuesday.
New embassy building inaugurated in Diplomatic Enclave
Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif welcomed President Abbas at the ceremony and the national anthems of both countries were also played on the occasion.
The Palestinian president was presented a guard of honour by a contingent of the armed forces.
This is President’s Abbas’ third trip to Pakistan after his earlier visits in 2005 and 2013.
During a joint press conference at the PM House, Prime Minister Sharif said that an enduring peace in the Middle East could not be achieved without a solution to the Palestine-Israel dispute.
“Pakistan will continue to support Palestine at all forums. We also look forward to the international community’s efforts for a sustainable peace in the Middle East,” he said.
The PM said Palestine was a long-standing issue on the UN’s agenda and needed a practical solution.
“The establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of [internationally agreed upon] parameters, the pre-1967 borders [with] Al-Quds Al-Sharif as [the] capital is the only sustainable guarantee [for] peace,” he added.
Both the leaders called upon the international community to implement United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2334, which demands that Israel end its settlements in Palestinian territory.
PM Sharif and President Abbas also inaugurated the new building of the Palestinian Embassy in the Diplomatic Enclave and both leaders unveiled the plaque of a new complex, which houses the chancery and ambassador’s residence. Pakistan had donated the plot for the new building in 1992 and contributed $1 million for the project as well.
Later, President Mamnoon Hussain hosted a banquet in honour of his Palestinian counterpart, where he stressed the need for a just solution to the Palestine and Kashmir issues.
The two leaders called upon the international community to urge Israel to halt the expansion of settlements on Palestinian territory and play its role in resolving the long-standing issue.
President Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan had consistently supported the Palestinian cause on all forums and said it would continue to extend moral and diplomatic support to the Palestinian people in their struggle for an independent state, with the Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.
He lauded the bravery of the Palestinians in the face of human rights violations and the occupation by Israel. The president said the people of both Palestine and Kashmir were suffering at the hands of occupying forces and stressed on the need for promoting bilateral trade between Pakistan and Palestine.
The Palestinian president expressed concerns over the planned shifting of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying the move would violate UNSC resolutions.
He said that he had discussed bilateral relations with “brother Nawaz Sharif”, which he said were strengthening with time. He added that the meeting was focused on issues of the region, especially the eradication of terrorism and extremism.
President Abbas said thousands of Palestinian students study in Pakistani universities, which he said was encouraging and suggested the constitution of a joint committee to work out ways for strengthening bilateral relations.
Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2017