Mission Palestine: FM Qureshi leaves for UN en route Turkey

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on the special instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, left on Monday for Turkey on an extensive diplomatic mission to draw global attention towards the fast-deteriorating situation in Palestine.

The foreign minister, along with foreign ministers of Sudan, Palestine and Turkey, will then leave for New York.

The foreign minister will also address an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to reaffirm Pakistan’s support for the cause of oppressed Palestinians.

During his stay in New York, foreign minister Qureshi will hold important meetings with different key figures, a press release said.

He will also talk to local and international media and present Pakistan’s stance over the situation in Palestine.

Pakistan has been urging the international community to step in to stop the massacre of Palestinians. Hundreds of innocent Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks during the last two weeks, while the Western nations have failed to condemn the brutalities.

UNGA session on Palestine

The UN General Assembly will hold an urgent meeting later this week to discuss the “grave deterioration” of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, a spokesperson of the 193-member body’s president announced Monday.

Spokesman Brenden Varma said that the session on Thursday, May 20, is in response to a request from the chairmen of the OIC Group and the Arab Group at the UN made in a joint letter to the Assembly president, Volkan Bozkir of Turkey.

The letter was signed by Niger’s Ambassador Abdou Abarry, who is chairman of the OIC Group, and Algeria’s Ambassador Sofiane Mimouni, who heads the Arab Group.

Responding to questions, the spokesperson said the plenary meeting will debate the situation in the Middle East, but so far no resolution has been submitted.

The general assembly meeting follows the failure of the UN Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza.

So far, three Security Council meetings have taken place, with no concrete outcome after the United States blocked a joint statement calling for de-escalation of hostilities in the region.

The Council meeting on Sunday came after the US reportedly twice blocked over last week’s resolutions that would have deplored Israel’s military response and called for a ceasefire.

Nearly 200 people, including 58 children, have been killed in the intense bombing of the besieged enclave of two million people.

Israel has justified its bombing campaign as a retaliation to rocket attacks by Hamas fighters. But the Hamas movement said its actions were a response to the Israeli policy of forced displacement of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces last week.

Israel had missed a Hamas deadline to withdraw its forces from the mosque compound.

The latest round of inaction also comes as US President Joe Biden has given no signs of plans to step up public pressure on Israel, instead repeatedly stressing Israel’s right to defend itself.

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