No change in policy on recognising Israel: Aziz
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Sunday that there was no change in Pakistan’s policy on recognition of Israel and the recent meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries was only to promote the Palestinian cause and ensure peace in the Middle East.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Arabiya news channel, the prime minister said the meeting between Kasuri and Shalom was just an engagement to promote the Palestinian cause, encourage interfaith harmony and work for Middle East peace. He said both foreign ministers had discussed regional issues and the Palestinian situation during the meeting, and it was clearly conveyed that Pakistan wanted an independent Palestinian homeland.
The prime minister said the reaction to the meeting among the public and politicians in Pakistan, with minor exceptions, had been positive.
Shaukat Aziz said the meeting would also resolve misperceptions and help convey the Muslim world’s point of view to Israel in a better manner. He said Pakistan wanted to go beyond making statements on the issue, which was why the meeting had been planned. President Pervez Musharraf had talked to Saudi King Abdullah and the Turkish premier prior to the meeting, he said. Pakistan had informed many Muslim leaders about the meeting, he said, but the decision had been its own.
Aziz said Pakistan had an important position in the world community and Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas, during his visit to Pakistan two months ago, had asked President Musharraf to play a role in projecting the cause of Palestine.
The prime minister said Pakistan would continue with the contact if it proved instrumental in bringing about a resolution of the Palestine problem, and would work on alternative options otherwise. He said it was too early to say what Pakistan could do in resolving the Palestine problem.
The prime minister said there were no short-term gains from the meeting. Defending the meeting, he said engagement was a mature way to handle issues. He said indirect contacts between Pakistan and Israel had started a week before the foreign ministers’ meeting and it was held with the Turkish premier’s cooperation. app