MANHATTAN: Pakistan has told the UN Security Council that the situation in the Middle East and North Africa requires a comprehensive approach to address the multiple challenges in the region, warning that there can be no peace without justice.
“Unilateral measures driven by narrow interests and false assumptions, have only brought suffering to the people of the region,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said, pointing out that nowhere was that more apparent than in Palestine.
“The two-state solution is tragically being dismantled in full sight of the international community,” she said in a debate focusing on various fault-lines in the region.
The Security Council had stood by as Palestinians were killed in Gaza during the Great March of Return, a dereliction of its responsibility, she said.
Opening the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Security Council to resolve myriad of challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, saying, “Decades-old conflicts, together with new ones, as well as deep-rooted social grievances, a shrinking of democratic space and the emergence of terrorism and new forms of violent extremism, are undermining peace, sustainable development, and human rights.” In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said the geostrategic landscape of the Middle East is dominated by a complex interplay of multiple and intersecting fault-lines – competing interests and divergences between major regional powers have fueled greater instability and pushed the region into a vortex of turmoil and violence.
This combustible mix has been exacerbated by big power rivalries, raising the danger of wider conflict, she said.
The Pakistani envoy criticized those external actors in the region who were trying to shape it according to their own political preferences.
She referred to the latest report of the UN Secretary-General that also attests to a familiar pattern of systematic abuse of Palestinians at the hands of the illegal Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian issue, Ambassador Lodhi said, was not a byproduct of conflict in the Middle East, it is the primary source of instability in the region. The road to peace in the Middle East lies in a just settlement of the Palestinian issue, she added.
She recalled that on June 13, the General Assembly was called upon, to reaffirm to the Palestinians, their right to safety and protection “ a right expressly recognized by several Security Council Resolutions, which the Security Council had failed to endorse on June 1.
Amid the prevailing gloom, the Pakistani envoy said Iraq had held parliamentary elections last month, marking a new chapter of democracy, and while progress was slow in Syria, every step forward on the path to political engagement was again for peace in that country. The situation in Yemen required a political outcome, she said, adding peace could not be built in the absence of justice. We are all insecure if some of us are vulnerable, she said, advocating a just settlement to the Palestinian issue.