ISLAMABAD: A group of envoys, mostly from the European Union, on Tuesday pressed Pakistan to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine during the ongoing debate in the United Nations General Assembly.
“As Head of Mission to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, we urge Pakistan to join us in condemning Russia’s actions and to voice support for upholding the UN Charter and the founding principles of international law,” ambassadors of 22 countries and the head of the European Union delegation in Islamabad said in a statement jointly signed by them.
The statement was jointly signed by the ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Japan, Norway and Switzerland as well as the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan. High commissioners of Canada, the United Kingdom, and chargé d’affaires of Australia also signed the statement.
FM Qureshi says Islamabad wants diplomatic solution to Ukraine issue
The signatories of the statement represented the countries that are Pakistan’s major development partners. Pakistan also has a preferential market access arrangement with EU called the GSP+.
The envoys’ statement came in the backdrop of the rare emergency session of UN General Assembly that started on Monday. A vote on the resolution calling Russia to stop the war is likely on Wednesday at the end of the debate.
UNGA session was convened after Russia last week vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council that would have deplored the Russian actions, besides calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. China, India, and the United Arab Emirates had, moreover, abstained from voting on the UN Security Council resolution.
Pakistan has decided to remain neutral in the ongoing UNGA session.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was visiting Moscow, when President Putin ordered invasion of Ukraine.
In his meeting with President Putin, PM Khan regretted that diplomacy could not avert the military conflict. He also highlighted the need for resolving disputes through dialogue and diplomacy, recalling the implications of war for not only the parties to the conflict but other countries as well.
There was no response from the Foreign Office to the joint statement of envoys.
Calling the joint statement ‘ironic’, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said the countries had suddenly remembered UN Charter and International Law “after decades of ignoring all violations of UN Charter, UNSC resolutions, 4th Geneva Convention by India in IIOJK & Israel in Palestine.” She also referred to the attacks on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Srebrenica massacre and illegal drone attacks on Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, however, said Pakistan wanted diplomatic solution to Ukraine issue. War would cause massive damages, he said while addressing a presser in Larkana. Talks between Ukraine and Russia had begun to strike peace and hopefully good results would come, he said, adding that in this matter the role of Pakistan was ‘impartial’.
The FM said Islamabad had good relations with Washington and quoted US spokesman as calling Pakistan its ‘strategic partner’. He also referred to the recent one-on-one meeting between PM Khan and President Putin that lasted more than three hours.
Talking about ‘independent’ foreign policy of Pakistan, Mr Qureshi then referred to the country’s relations with China, European Union and Ummah and added big number of foreign ministers would be coming to the conference on March23. “We want to have good relations with all,” he added.
M.B. Kalhoro from Larkana also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2022