May 21, 2013
UNITED NATIONS, May 21 (APP): Pakistan has endorsed a call by Palestine’s lead negotiator for renewed international focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an effort to correct the historic justice, paving the way for peace in the Middle East.
“We understand the excruciating pain of Palestinians as they pass through these difficult times of occupation and extreme privation,” Ambassador Masood Khan told the Palestinian Rights Committee on Monday.
“Continued attention of the international community is extremely important.”
The Pakistani envoy spoke after Saeb Erakat, a prominent Palestinian official, said they were exerting every possible effort to ensure the success of current efforts to re-start peace negotiations with Israel. Calling on member states to make their positions on the issue clear, Erakat underlined how important it was that US Secretary of State John Kerry succeed in bringing about a resumption of talks.
In his remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan said, “While the US engagement is welcome, the Quartet—comprising the U.N., European Union, the U.S. and Russia—and the Security Council should also play their role in this regard.”
Resumption of the peace process should mean action with clear benchmarks and deadlines, he added. “A sustainable resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict lies only through the establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” the Pakistani envoy told the committee.
“The very important and major concession afforded by the Arab League in this regard should be appreciated.” Masood Khan said, “Two States, living side by side, in peace and security, is the goal that we ought to pursue single-mindedly".
“All Security Council resolutions relating to Palestine, including Resolution 1860 must be fully implemented. Settlement activity must stop, Palestinian detainees must be released, religious freedom should be restored , efforts aimed at financially stifling the Palestinian Authority must stop".
The culture of impunity must end. “Peace in the Middle East has been a continuing quest for more than six decades. Pakistan has all along been a supporter of the inalienable right to self-determination for Palestine. Let me assure you of our continued unflinching support.”
Erakat, describing himself as the most disadvantaged negotiator in the history of mankind, pointed out that he had no army, navy, air force or economy, and that his people were fragmented.
Nonetheless, Israel faced a stark choice: it could choose live and let live, which called for two States based on the 1967 borders, or it could go for one State.
The Palestinian negotiator said that, while he could talk to Israeli negotiators about that option, the persistence of the current situation was not at all possible.
The status quo would not be maintained under any circumstances, and the apartheid existing today could not last, he emphasized, pointing out that the Palestinian population was growing faster than the Israeli one.
Erakat said he had no conditions for re-starting negotiations. A halt to settlement activity was not a condition, but a must.
Israel needed to make a choice: settlements or peace. Kerry was working on three tracks political, economic and security with all three closely interlinked as a package.
However, he said Israel continued to claim it had no partner, likening that complaint to a broken record. Palestine could have Mother Teresa as President, Montesquieu (French political thinker) as Speaker and Thomas Jefferson (former U.S. president and a renowned political philosopher) as Prime Minister but Israel would still manage to relate them back to Osama Bin Laden, he added.
ISLAMABAD (APP): Six JF-17 Thunder fighters of the Pakistan Air Force will escort the aircraft of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as it enters Pakistani air space on Wednesday, at the startof his two-day State visit.
The JF-17s — a symbol of deep Sino-Pakistan friendship – will guide the special Air China Boeing 747 aircraft of the Chinese dignitary to the Nur Khan Air Base, where a 21-gun salute will herald his arrival.
The JF-17s will fly past over the air base.
In a rare gesture of cordiality and warm feelings for China, President Asif Ali Zardari and the caretaker Prime Minister Justice(R) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso will receive the chief guest on his first visit to Pakistan, since assuming office in March.
President Zardari will host a luncheon for the distinguished guest in which all the major leadership of political parties have also been invited.
The Prime Minister will also host a banquet for his Chinese counterpart.
On the second day of his visit, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chief Nawaz Sharif will meet Li Keqiang.
The two countries will also sign a number of memoranda of understanding for close cooperation in various fields.
The Chinese Premier will also address the Senate of Pakistan on May 23.
He will also hold a joint meeting with the Senate Chairman and the Speaker of the National Assembly.
Later, he will visit the Pak-China Friendship Centre and witness a cultural show.
Prime Minister Khoso will bid farewell to the Chinese Premier on Thursday and the six JF-17s will escort the dignitary’s aircraft till the aerial limits of Pakistan.
The Government and people of Pakistan look forward to the visit of Premier Li Keqiang and a warm welcome awaits him, a Foreign Office statement said.