Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated Pakistan's unwavering support for the Palestinian cause in a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, according to a statement from the Foreign Office (FO).
The meeting between the two took place on the sidelines of the special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Palestine with FM Qureshi in New York as part of "Pakistan’s extensive diplomatic outreach efforts to mobilise international support for the Palestinians", reported the Associated Press of Pakistan.
"During the meeting, the foreign minister expressed deep concern over the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories caused by Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, resulting in over 250 deaths including dozens of women and children.
"The foreign minister underscored that his visit to New York to attend the UNGA session on Palestine was an expression of Pakistan’s firm and unwavering support to the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people for their right to self-determination," said the FO statement.
It added that the UN secretary general welcomed the recent ceasefire announcement and also expressed the hope that it could help revive efforts for a "negotiated settlement of the Palestinian issue".
During the meeting, the foreign minister also raised the issue of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and briefed the UN secretary general on the "serious human rights and humanitarian situation in IoK including continued illegal incarceration of the Kashmiri political leaders and extra-judicial killings".
"The foreign minister said that the re-initiation of the 2003 ceasefire understanding between Pakistan and India along the Line of Control was a welcome step. Pakistan desired normal relations with India. However, the onus was on India to take steps to create an enabling environment for a meaningful engagement," said the statement.
He also urged the UN Secretary General to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the UN charter and the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Qureshi further highlighted Pakistan's constructive efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process and expressed his hope that "the Afghan parties would seize the opportunity and reach an inclusive, politically-negotiated settlement, resulting in lasting peace and security in Afghanistan."
The issue of the rising tide of intolerance, discrimination, violence and Islamophobia against Muslims was also addressed during the meeting between the two and the foreign minister stressed the need for the relevant UN bodies to address the challenge.
He additionally called for effective measures to be taken against the "threat posed by violent nationalist, supremacist, far-right and extreme right wing terrorist groups and ideologies."
Meeting with UNGA president
Qureshi also held a meeting with the President of the UNGA Volkan Bozkir, said the FO statement.
He thanked the president for convening the session of the UNGA to discuss the Palestinian issue and expressed his hope that the session "must express its resolve to act particularly when the UNSC is unable to fulfil its primary responsibility towards maintenance of international peace and security".
"He [FM Qureshi] said that the entire Pakistani nation was outraged at Israel’s use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force against innocent Palestinians, and reiterated Pakistan's calls for an immediate ceasefire, and to ensure Israel’s full compliance with international humanitarian and human rights laws," said the FO statement.
Qureshi also raised the issue of IoK in his meeting with the president and called for the resolution of the issue for "lasting peace in South Asia".
He "deeply appreciated" the role of the president in steering the UNGA during Covid-19. Bozkir thanked Qureshi for inviting him Pakistan, adding that he was looking forward to visiting Pakistan from May 26 to 28.
Meeting with Saudi FM
FM Qureshi also held a bilateral meeting with the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on the sidelines of the UNGA special meeting, according to a statement from the FO.
Qureshi expressed the "deep gratitude" of the people and the government of Pakistan for Saudi Arabia's leadership on the Palestinian issue and for convening an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) executive committee at the foreign ministers' level on May 16.
During the meeting with his Saudi counterpart, FM Qureshi also recalled the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia joint statement — issued during Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to the country — which had reaffirmed the "shared perspectives of the two brotherly countries on the Palestinian issue."
"FM Qureshi strongly condemned Israeli provocations; forcible and illegal evictions of Palestinians from their homes; the onslaught against Palestinian worshipers in the holy Al Aqsa mosque in the month of Ramazan; and the indiscriminate aerial bombardment against the Palestinians.
"[The] foreign minister also reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right to self-determination and establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with [the] relevant UN and OIC resolutions," said the FO statement.
The two foreign ministers further discussed matters pertaining to various bilateral aspects of the relations between the two countries.
Meeting with Kuwaiti FM
FM Qureshi further held a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Dr Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah on the sidelines of the UNGA special meeting.
The two foreign minister expressed their "deep concern" during the meeting at the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories due to Israeli aggression which had resulted in the deaths of more than 250 civilians including over 60 children.
"Underscoring Pakistan’s position, FM Qureshi stated that peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through a just settlement of the Palestinian issue based on a viable, independent, and contiguous Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders and Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital," said a statement from the FO.
While discussing the bilateral relationship between the countries, Qureshi urged the need for greater collaboration on issues of mutual interest at regional and international forums along with further cooperation in diverse fields including food security, agriculture, poultry, livestock, tourism and oil exploration.
"Pakistan accords high priority to its fraternal ties with Kuwait, which are firmly rooted in shared values and commonality of interests in multiple areas.
"Regular leadership level exchanges provide further impetus to the excellent bilateral relations and deepen mutual cooperation," said the FO statement.