ISLAMABAD: Pakis­tan has turned down Swit­zerland’s invitation to the Ukraine Peace Sum­mit citing scheduling conflicts and other considerations.

“Pakistan received an invitation from Swit­zerland for the Conference, which is being held from 15th to 16th of June. However, due to a host of factors, including scheduling challenges, Pakistan is not participating in this conference,” FO Spokes­person Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said at the weekly media briefing.

The two-day summit being held at the Bürgen­stock resort outside the city of Lucerne in Swit­zerland is designed to gather international support for Ukraine’s vision of peace, detailed in Ukrai­nian President Zelensky’s ten-point peace formula.

Despite the invite to 160 countries, only about 90 are attending, with notable absences including China, and several important counties from Global South, which have shown unwillingness to join an anti-Russia forum and peace discussions in Moscow’s absence.

Beijing rejected the allegation.

Expectations for tangible outcomes are modest because of Moscow’s absence.

Islamabad’s decision to skip the conference is a diplomatic move to maintain neutrality in the conflict, especially since Russia is not participating in it. Pakistan has historically maintained good relations with Ukraine, having purchased weapons systems from it in the past, but has also been strengthening ties with Russia in recent years.

“We reiterate our call for immediate cessation of hostilities and stress the need for diplomacy and dialogue for an early negotiated end to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia,” the spokesperson said.

“Pakistan stands for universal and consistent application of UN Charter principles, including non-use or threat of use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, pacific settlement of disputes, and equal security for all states,” she added.

IIOJK attacks

Spokesperson Baloch rejected Delhi’s allegations of involvement in latest surge in violence in India-held Kashmir.

“The Indian occupation authorities and media have a habit of making such irresponsible statements. No one takes these allegations seriously,” she said. Responding to another question, she said these were unsubstantiated news reports that did not merit her comment.

Police in India-held Kashmir have accused Pakistan of orchestrating a series of attacks that resulted in the deaths of 12 individuals and left dozens injured over the past three days.

UN report

Pakistan welcomed the report of the UN Independent Inter­national Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and Israel, saying time has come for Israel to be held accountable.

The spokesperson said: “We call on global conscience to force Israel towards an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. It is also critical to bring an end to the war on the people of Gaza.”

She also welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2735 and hoped for a permanent and sustainable ceasefire and an end to the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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