Monday December 04, 2023

FM Jilani asserts relations with Israel hinge on interests of nation, Palestinians

Minister's statement comes after Israeli FM's claims about normalcy of relations with Muslim world

By Web Desk
September 24, 2023

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani Saturday asserted that Pakistan's decision about establishing relations with Israel will be made keeping its national interests and those of Palestinians in mind.

The minister's statement came after Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made claims regarding the normalcy of his country's relations with the Muslim world, particularly following their peace deal with Saudi Arabia, as reported in Kan News, an Israeli media outlet.

Cohen said that "six or seven” Islamic nations are expected to sign a normalisation agreement with Tel Aviv once Riyadh joins the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan in the Abraham Accords.

The Israeli minister also said he has met with leaders from several Muslim countries who have not recognised Israel yet.

Jalil, in response to the Israeli FM's assertion, clarified that Cohen has not met with any Pakistani official in recent times.

In 2005, during the tenure of former president General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's then-foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri met with his then-counterpart Silvan Shalom in Turkey, Istanbul.

This was the first meeting that took place publicly and was a result of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's efforts. However, no such meetings at the level of foreign ministers or higher have been reported in the media since then.

A senior Pakistani diplomat, on the condition of anonymity, hoped that Pakistan would not have to make a decision on this matter in the near future.

In his address at the 78th United Nations General Assembly this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said peace with Saudi Arabia means peace between the Muslim world and Jews.

Netanyahu also claimed Israel is "on the cusp" of normalising ties with Saudi Arabia while holding maps showing the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights as part of Israel.

His statement has since sparked a new debate about which Muslim countries, after the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, will establish relations with Israel.

It should be noted that Cohen has claimed that six or seven Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, will soon recognise Israel. However, he did not mention the names of those seven countries due to the situation in Libya, international affairs experts believe.

A significant diplomatic issue with Libya was sparked less than a month ago by Cohen, whose office disclosed that then-former foreign minister of Libya, Najla Mangoush, had met with him in Rome.

Mangoush was fired as a result of the discovery, which also caused widespread protests in North Africa, and fled to London. Following his error, US officials reprimanded Cohen for "killing" the conduit of communication with Libya, The Cradle reported.