No move to recognise Israel, says FM Jilani

Published September 25, 2023
Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani speaks to a Turkish news channel in New York. — Screengrab/File
Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani speaks to a Turkish news channel in New York. — Screengrab/File

NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said on Sunday that there’s absolutely no move to recognise Israel and he did not meet his Israeli counterpart during the 78th UN General Assembly in New York this week.

Earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Israeli journalists that during the UNGA he met leaders from several Muslim countries who had not recognised Israel yet.

He also suggested that “six or seven” Muslim nations were likely to normalise ties with Israel, following Saudi Arabia’s potential inclusion in the Abraham Accords. The agreement represents Arab nations willing to normalise ties with Israel, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.

“We take decisions based on our interests and the interests of Palestinians,” the Pakistani foreign minister said, while talking to Dawn. “Our position is reflected in the statement that I made in the OIC Contact group on Palestine (earlier this week).”

Israeli minister claims six or seven Muslim nations likely to normalise ties

Asked if he met the Israeli foreign minister during the current UN session, Mr Jilani said: “The Israeli foreign minister has said he met ministers from five, six Muslim nations with whom Israel did not have formal relations. I have not even seen his face.”

Asked if he discussed this issue with other Muslim nations during the 78th UNGA, the foreign minister said: “No discussion. We are not thinking on those lines at all.”

Mr Jilani said he did not see the Israeli minister even in group meetings and “if I see him, I will not be able to recognise him”.

Responding to a question that if there’s a move in Pakistan to recognise Israel, he said: “There is absolutely no move. As I said repeatedly, our position is very clear, and I explained this in my OIC statement.”

A meeting of the OIC committee of six Muslim foreign ministers on Palestine was held this week on the sidelines of 78th session of the UN General Assembly. The meeting was chaired by the secre­tary general of the OIC and also attended by ministers and high officials from Pales­tine, Turkiye, Guinea, Mala­ysia, Pakistan and Senegal. Mr Jilani represented Pakistan.

While reaffirming Pakis­tan’s solidarity with the people of Palestine and stressing the importance of implementation of the relevant UN and OIC resolutions, he reiterated the call for “the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”

Mr. Jilani noted with deep concern the continued deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including occupied Jerusalem, in particular Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

He strongly condemned Israeli atrocities, including the killing of innocent civilians, storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, expansion of illegal settlements, settler violence, administrative detentions, and airstrikes on the densely populated Gaza Strip. Mr. Jilani said that such violations were “in complete disregard for human rights and rule of law.”

The foreign minister stressed that it was imperative to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing illegal actions and acts of aggression for meaningful deterrence and in this regard.

The meeting urged the international community to protect the Palestinians against the blatant and illegal use of force and flagrant violations of human rights and urgently take concerted actions to stop Israeli atrocities against the civilian population. The meeting also proposed formation of a joint group open to all OIC member states to promote implementation of the Committee’s decisions.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2023

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