UNITED NATIONS - A top Pakistani diplomat has called for collective action to defeat the "evil ideology" of Islamic State, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, as he stressed the urgent need for resumption of Middle East peace negotiations.
"The so-called Islamic State does not draw its authority or writ from any religion," Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council on Tuesday.
"We must all, collectively, oppose and defeat its evil ideology of ‘hate, murder and destroy’. We must remain united in our fight against this new face of terrorism and violent extremism," he said in a debate on the situation in the Middle East.
About the Middle East peace process, the Pakistani envoy said, "Whether it is Palestine or Syria, dialogue and diplomacy need to be pursued with a real sense of purpose and urgency."
Israel broke off the peace talks in April to protest against the reconciliation agreement between the Western-backed Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Islamic group which the Jewish state considers its sworn enemy.
The Pakistani envoy said that dialogue should, however, not be pursued for the sake of dialogue. "It should not forever remain a mirage; It should have clear goals, timelines and benchmarks."
"We know from experience that failure to resolve the Palestine issue has spawned many more conflicts," he said in a debate on the situation in the Middle East. "The object lesson is: fix Palestine, fix the Middle East, and some major ailments in our international polity will be fixed."
Masood Khan deplored the fact that the Security Council failed to fullfil its responsibility, as Gaza was burning and 2,100 of its citizens were killed, one third of them women and children.
He voiced appreciation for the pledges of US$ 5.4 billion made in Cairo to rebuild Gaza, but said the Strip would remain vulnerable, if the status quo continues.
Voicing Pakistan's concern on the Middle East situation, he said, "We cannot put a spin on what happened this year: the peace process collapsed; Gaza was devastated once again; Israel announced its largest land grab for over three decades; and tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque increased."
An overwhelming majority of the international community continues to support a clear path towards full Palestinian statehood and sovereignty, the Pakistan envoy noted.
"The British House of Commons has recognised the 'State of Palestine'. Sweden’s new Government has also decided to recognise it. These weighty pronouncements, coming from two major European Union members, raise the hopes of the beleaguered Palestinian people. This Council must acknowledge these realities on the ground, he added.