Makkah summit slams US embassy move to Jerusalem: statement

A Palestinian woman prays on the last Friday of Ramadan in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem, May 31, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 01 June 2019

Makkah summit slams US embassy move to Jerusalem: statement

  • 57-member OIC urges all members to boycott countries that have opened diplomatic missions in Jerusalem
  • Statement comes as Trump's son-in-law prepares to roll out long-awaited Middle East peace plan in Bahrain this month

MAKKAH: The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday slammed the US decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the disputed city as Israel’s capital.
The Saudi-hosted summit condemned the “transfer of embassies of the United States and Guatemala to Jerusalem” and urged all members to “boycott” countries that have opened diplomatic missions in the city, a statement said.
The statement comes as US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner prepares to roll out economic aspects of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan at a conference in Bahrain later this month.
The plan, dubbed by Trump as the “deal of the century,” has already been rejected by the Palestinians, who say Trump’s policies have shown him to be blatantly biased in favor of Israel.
Palestinians have cut off all contacts with the Trump administration after the president broke with decades of bipartisan policy to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.
Israel insists the whole of Jerusalem is its “eternal, indivisible capital.” The Palestinians demand the city’s eastern sector as the capital of their long-promised state.


Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.