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Pakistan send Parliament delegation to Palestine

Pakistan to send Parliamentary delegation to Palestine next month

ISLAMABAD, Sept.5 (APP): Pakistan Monday said it would send its first official delegation to Palestine next month as part of an initiative to help resolve the Middle East crisis while supporting the Palestinian cause. "Right now we are in the process of finalizing composition of the delegation and the dates," Foreign Office Spokesman Naeem Khan said at a weekly briefing. Khan said Pakistan has taken the initiative to have official contact with Israel as it believes the move will help the Middle-East peace process.

The September 1 meeting between Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri and his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom in Istanbul was the first open high-level contact between the two countries, which did not have any diplomatic ties. The spokesman said that the neighbouring Arab countries of Palestine and those involved in the peace process were consulted before making the ministerial-level contact with Israel. However, Khan said that Pakistan's position on the lingering crisis remained unchanged, which calls for complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and creation of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital.

The Parliamentary delegation will visit Gaza and other places and meet with the local authorities there, he added. " We are associating more actively with the (Middle East) peace process Pakistan and those Arab states involved with peace efforts would respond positively if Israel took further steps," he added. Responding to a question, Khan said it was not a question of how Pakistan would influence Israel on resolving the crisis but to see how Islamabad could help the peace process. The spokesman also announced that the visit of Iran's chief nuclear official, Ali Larijani, who was due in Islamabad today, has been delayed. Khan said Irani authorities requested to reschedule the visit owing to some technical problems and last minute commitments. Larijani was to travel to Pakistan from China where he was on an official visit.

He dispelled the impression that the visit had been postponed following an official contact between Pakistan and Israel. "The visit will take place shortly and has been rescheduled on Iranian request," he said and added, Iran wished to inform Pakistan about its discussion with the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To a question, he reiterated Pakistan's position that supports peaceful resolution of the issue over Tehran's nuclear programme, saying Islamabad was against the use of coercive measures. "Pakistan believes that any solution should take into account rights and obligations of all parties," he added.

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