PRESS RELEASE

At UN Pakistan urges negotiated solution to Middle East conflicts

New York, 19 April, 2016

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the 15 member UN Security Council that peace will not be easy to restore in Middle East unless there was a genuine commitment by all powers and parties to negotiated solutions.

Speaking in a debate on the Middle East and Palestine, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative said that in addition, a comprehensive and enlightened policy was needed to address and overcome the underlying political, economic and social causes of conflicts raging in the region.

Ambassador Lodhi also pointed to the difficulty to resolve the other crises, which have proliferated in the Middle East or to eliminate the rise of terrorism and extremism unless the world finds a “just and durable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

She said the "Arab Spring" has turned into “a winter of despair and suffering,” adding that the scale of the suffering in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere is unprecedented in its scope and intensity.

“As we discuss solutions here today, people continue to endure unimaginable suffering, and their exodus has created a humanitarian catastrophe,” the Pakistani envoy emphasized.

Ambassador Lodhi underlined the urgent need for statesmanship, diplomacy and dialogue. She said that “political and ideological polarization in the region has exacerbated the consequences of external intervention, intensified sectarian and ethnic divisions and rendered political solutions more difficult.”

Referring to the unity displayed by the international community in combating ISIS, Ambassador Lodhi said that these efforts will be successful only when the world addresses the underlying reasons for the appeal of its toxic ideology to so many young and impressionable people in so many countries.

Assailing the Israeli leadership of "fast closing" the prospects of peace with the Palestinians, she called on the Security Council to adopt a legally-binding plan to implement the internationally agreed two-state solution and take steps to enforce it.

“There is an ever present danger of another Intifada if a credible peace process is not revived rapidly”, she warned.

Pakistan’s envoy said that the current Israeli leadership was “willfully’ thwarting chances of a peaceful settlement by its policy of expanding settlements, demolitions and incitement, accompanied by the refusal to engage in a meaningful dialogue to implement the internationally agreed two state solution”, she added.

She condemned the continuing violence by the occupation forces against Palestinian children, women and other innocent Palestinians. As for illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, she said that these had increased by 250 per cent during the first 3 months of this year as compared to last year.

Ambassador Lodhi expressed Pakistan’s commitment to supporting the Palestinians in their decades-long legitimate struggle for their rights and for their dignity.