UN, New York, April 21, 2015
"Once a cradle of civilization, the Middle East today has become a cradle of chaos." This was stated by Pakistan's Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi in the UN Security Council Tuesday, where she made an impassioned plea to address the region's several conflicts, especially Palestine.
Participating in a debate on the Middle East in the 15 member Council, she said the Arab spring had turned into a "cold and forbidding winter". Conflicts and regional rivalries raged in the Middle East, which was also afflicted by terrorism and extremism and massive as well as enduring human suffering.
She warned the Security Council that unless this chaos was contained and controlled, it would endanger global peace, security and prosperity.
This situation needed to be addressed with long term vision rather than short term or partisan perspectives.
Muslim unity, she said, was essential in the face of these challenges. The Islamic world must not allow the internal fissures to tear apart the the divinely prescribed unity of the Ummah - the community of all Muslims.
Describing Palestine and the plight of its people as the root cause of many of the conflicts and chaos that now rages across the Middle East, she said the prospect of a just solution appeared further away than at any time. This was unacceptable. As was the situation in the Palestinian camp in Yarmouk which defied description.
She reiterated Pakistan's unwavering solidarity with the people of Palestine and urged the Council to act and take the lead on this issue. Ambassador Lodhi said that resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict would also help resolve the new conflicts that engulf the Middle East. “Urgency is essential”, she emphasized and added that unfortunately the prospect of a just solution to this perennial problem was further away than at any time.
“The recent pronouncements by Israel have appalled even its closest friends”, she said.
Ambassador Lodhi also highlighted the continued spread of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, the blockade of Gaza, the provocations around the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque and the continued imprisonment of Palestinians. Such measures posed ever growing obstacles to a two-state solution.
Pakistan urged the Security Council to adopt a resolution establishing the parameters of a Palestinian State, set a timeline for ending occupation and launch a new peace process to take negotiations forward.
Speaking on the rise of ISIS, Ambassador Lodhi said that wittingly or otherwise, the long conflict in and around Iraq has exacerbated ethnic and sectarian fault lines and given new life to Al Qaeda and birth to an even more abhorrent terrorist entity: ISIS or Daesh - which now rampages across Iraq and Syria and was gaining adherents beyond, in Libya and elsewhere.
“ISIS must be defeated”, she said and added that for peace and order to be restored to Syria a political solution will need to be negotiated between those willing to make mutual accommodations. She urged utilizing the Geneva process, UN mediation, the Russian initiative and all other avenues to evolve a political solution to this difficult conflict.
“The first priority should be to end the massive human suffering of the Syrian people”, she said.
Referring to the many conflicts going on in the Middle East, she said while the proximate causes of each conflict was different, there were some common threads : the failure of governments and governance to meet the legitimate aspirations of the concerned people, unresolved issues, the consequences of outside interventions and acts of omission by the international community.
Finally on the crisis in Yemen she called for an urgent search for a political resolution through dialogue.