Pakistan calls for US role in de-escalating Gaza conflict

US statement following talks between Pakistani FM Qureshi and US Secretary of State Blinken makes no mention of Gaza.

A Palestinian man reacts as he sits in front of the remains of his house, after it was destroyed by an Israeli air attack in the city of Rafah [File: Said Khatib/AFP]

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan has expressed “deep concern and anguish” on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and stressed the “importance of [a] US role” in addressing the situation, a Pakistani statement says.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi by telephone late on Sunday, according to statements from both governments.

The US statement, however, made no mention of discussion on Israel or Palestine.

“The [Pakistani] Foreign Minister apprised Secretary Blinken of Pakistani people’s deep concern and anguish on the worsening humanitarian situation in the Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territories and underscored the importance of [a] US role in ensuring necessary steps to help address the dire situation, restore peace, and facilitate a just solution,” read the Pakistani statement.

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said the talks focused on the Afghan peace process, counterterrorism operations and improving trade ties.

“[Secretary Blinken] highlighted the importance of continued cooperation on the Afghan peace process, Pakistan’s progress on countering terrorism, and the potential to expand our trade and commercial ties and to improve regional connectivity in South Asia,” read the brief statement from the US state department.

On Monday, Qureshi condemned the ‘indiscriminate’ Israeli attacks on civilian after meeting with Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Jawad Rabaei [File: Anjum Naveed/AP Photo]

The Pakistani statement affirmed that progress on anti-terrorism financing laws and the Afghan peace process were discussed, with Pakistan “underscoring the importance of responsible withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan.

Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip continued early on Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country’s bombing of Gaza would continue “in full force”.

At least 42 Palestinians were killed and dozens more wounded in Sunday’s bombing of the Palestinian enclave.

Since the latest violence began a week ago, at least 192 people, including 58 children and 34 women, have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

Qureshi’s talks with Blinken were part of recent Pakistani diplomacy on the issue of the violence in Gaza, coming on the heels of similar conversations with the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister, and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Afghanistan and China.

On Monday, Qureshi met with Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Jawad Rabaei, and “categorically condemned [the Israeli army’s] continuous and indiscriminate attacks” on civilians, a Pakistani statement said.

On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “reaffirm[ing] Pakistan’s steadfast support for the rights of Palestinian people and their legitimate struggle”, according to a statement from Khan’s office.

Source: Al Jazeera