Self-right denial to Palestinians, Kashmiris threatens peace: Zardari

Abbas demands dismantling of illegal Israeli settlements

Self-right denial to Palestinians, Kashmiris threatens peace: Zardari Monday, February 18, 2013 - Islamabad—President Asif Ali Zardari has reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering support to the Palestinians in their just struggle for the establishment of an independent state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

He was speaking at a luncheon hosted in honor of the visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad Sunday.

He said “we would continue to voice our support for the cause of Palestinians at every international forum. We rejoice that Palestine has achieved non-member observer state status at the United Nations and we will fully support its admission as a full member of the UN.”

Expressing dismay at the negative reaction of Israel to the recognition of Palestine as a state‚ he said it is a sad state of affairs that Israeli is mocking the UN and violating international laws with impunity.

Strongly condemning the building of illegal settlements in the occupied territories‚ President Zardari called upon the international community to stop Israel from building new settlements. These settlements‚ he said‚ would be a death blow to the two-nation state solution. Israel’s complete disregard for international law is a slap on the face of the entire international community.

The President said continued denial of inalienable right of self determination to the people of Occupied Kashmir and Palestine carries the risk of instability of the Middle East and South Asian region. He said despite global consensus on the resolution of these two disputes‚ these goals remain elusive with no engagement and practical steps taken towards their achievement.

President Zardari said Pakistan and Palestine have a close‚ strong and historical relationship‚ founded on the aspirations and heartfelt sentiments of our peoples. He said we share the pain and anxiety of our Palestinian brethren and expressed the confidence that the Palestinians will one day succeed in realizing their dream.

He said one hundred and eighty million Pakistanis stand with their Palestinian brothers in their courgeous fight against illegal occupation of their homeland. He said we will continue to extend all out support to Palestinians for their right to self determination.

Speaking on the occasion‚ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinians people value the support and sincere commitment extended by Pakistan at every international forum for the just cause of Palestine. He thanked Pakistan for supporting Palestine’s non member observer state status at the United Nations General Assembly.

Mahmoud Abbas reiterated commitment to continue struggle for the freedom of Palestine. He said our freedom struggle is unshakeable and we will continue our efforts to address the plight of Palestinian refugees.

We remain committed to the release of thousands of prisoners in Israeli jails. Our commitment goes to ending the siege imposed on the Gaza strip by occupying Israel which wants to change the character of holy city and alter its composition.

He called upon Israel to stop building illegal settlements and end occupation of Palestinian land for peace and security of the region. He said we keep our hands extended to peace and ready to work with our friends to achieve the two state solution.

He said Palestinians people cherish their brotherly relations with Pakistan and looking forward to further strengthen the bilateral relations. He thanked Pakistan for allowing the establishment of Palestinian embassy in Islamabad and hoped work on it will soon be started. This gesture‚ he said‚ underlines the strength of our relationship.

Earlier‚ the two sides held threadbare discussions on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interests. Delegation level talks between Pakistan and Palestine to make more stronger the existing ties between the two countries were held in Islamabad.

The Pakistani delegation was led by President Asif Ali Zardari and the Palestinian delegation by President Mehmood Abbas.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar‚ Interior Minister Rehman Malik‚ Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin assisted President Asif Ali Zardari in the talks.

Later President Asif Ali Zardari arranged a luncheon in honour of the visiting Palestinian President and his delegation.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari‚ Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari‚ President AJK Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan‚ Federal Ministers‚ parliamentarians and ambassadors also attended the luncheon.

Earlier‚ a formal welcome ceremony was held at the Aiwan-e Sadr in honor of the visiting dignitary. A smartly turned out contingent of armed forces presented guard of honor to the visiting dignitary. He was warmly welcomed by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

On his arrival‚ national anthems of both countries were played and a smartly turned out contingent of the Armed Forces presented guard of honour. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also present on the occasion. Cabinet members were introduced to the visiting President Mahmood Abbas.—NNI





Pak, Palestine joint commission to expand coop



Islamabad—Pakistan and Palestine Sunday agreed to constitute a joint commission comprising of Foreign Ministers of the two countries to expand the existing political cooperation into other areas including economy, agriculture, banking and education and social and cultural sectors.

The Joint Commission will be formally setup and begin its work soon, said President Asif Zardari during talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, at Awan-e-Sadr, on Sunday when the latter stated that the existing political cooperation needed to be expanded into other areas as well.

Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that President also offered a grant of one million dollars for construction of Palestine Embassy in Islamabad to give fillip to the proposed multi-dimensional cooperation between the two.

He said that two rounds to talks were held; a one on one meeting and a delegation level talks.

Farhatullah Babar said that the talks at the two rounds covered a wide range of issues ranging from the status of the on going struggle of Palestinians for statehood to bilateral issues and from the situation in the Middle East to the stalled peace process. Issues in Palestine-Israel relations with focus on continued construction of settlements by Israel and reconciliation within Palestine also figured in the talks.

President Mahmoud Abbas briefed President Zardari how Israel had used the split between the West Bank and the Gaza strip to renege on the peace process and the antics resorted to by Tel Aviv after Palestinian leadership undertook efforts for achieving national reconciliation.

He said that Palestine had accepted the two-state solution since 1988 as a basis for ending the Palestine-Israel conflict and that they will continue to work to realize this goal through negotiations. However, the two-state solution was becoming increasingly unattainable because of the Israeli unacceptable settlement policies, he said.

President Mahmoud Abbas also briefed President Zardari about the Arab Peace Initiative that, he said, also addressed Israeli concerns but had been ignored by Israel.

The Arab Peace Initiative revolves around an Arab and Islamic recognition of Israel on the basis of 1967 borders, a just and agreed upon solution of the refugees issue and a collective regional security framework to safeguard the agreement in the future.

President Zardari while welcoming the Palestinian President on his visit to Pakistan said that Pakistan believed in right of self determination as inalienable right of the Palestinian people as well as the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The President said that Pakistan had supported all efforts aimed at resolving the Palestinian dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions for lasting peace in the region.

The President said that Pakistan called for total withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories including Jerusalem, end t the settlements, restitution of the inalienable rights to Palestine, and establishment of an independent homeland for Palestinians with Al-Quds Al-sharif as capital.

The Pakistan side in the talks included Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar Foreign Minister, Senator rehman malik Interior Minister, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Minister for Textile and Industry, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Spokesperson to the President, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary, Lt. Gen, (Retd) Ahsan Azhar Hayat Ambassador Designate to Palestine and other senior officials. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also present in the meeting.

The Plestinian side included, besides President Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Riad N.A Malki, Foreign Minister, Mr. Majdi A.M. Khalidi, Ambassador in the Presidency (Ramallah) Mr. Nabil G.O Aburubainah, President Advisor and Mr. Walid A. M. Abu Ali, Ambassador of Palestine in Pakistan. The President also presented a portrait of Palestinian President to Mr. Mahmoud Abbas.—INP

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