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Pakistan tells UAE it rejects normalisation with Israel

December 23, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, Pakistan on 1 March 2020 [FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images]

Pakistan cannot and will not recognise Israel before a “concrete and permanent settlement” of the Palestinian issue is reached, the country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.

“I categorically presented Pakistan’s stance on Israel to the UAE’s foreign minister that we will not and cannot establish a relationship with Israel until a concrete and permanent solution to the Palestine issue is found,” Qureshi told reporters in the northeastern Multan city.

According to Anadolu, Qureshi’s explanation came just a day after his visit to the UAE, which was seen by many as “crucial” amid rumours that Islamabad had secretly sent a messenger to Tel Aviv, reports Pakistan has denied.

Responding to questions regarding reports about alleged pressure from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf states for Pakistan to recognise Israel, Qureshi said he had explained to his Emirati counterpart the “depth of emotions and feelings” Pakistanis have about Palestine and Kashmir.

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“Number one, there will be no pressure on us nor is there. Number two, we have to make decisions keeping Pakistan’s interests in view and not because of any pressure. We have a policy and we are still steadfast on it,” he continued.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, he went on to argue, had  time and again clarified that “there is no pressure on us in this regard.”

In recent years, Pakistan’s ties with its traditional Gulf allies have taken a hit due to its “neutrality” on several issues, including the war in Yemen and the blockade of Qatar by a Saudi-led Arab alliance which includes the UAE.

Earlier this month, Morocco became the fourth Arab country to normalise relations with Israel since August after the United Arab EmiratesBahrain and Sudan. There has been added pressure on others to make similar moves with Saudi Arabia and Oman expected to follow suit.