Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani emphasized that Pakistan’s stance on establishing relations with Israel would be determined by assessing the interests of both Pakistan and the Palestinian people.
This response came following Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s comments regarding the potential normalization of Israel’s relations with Muslim-majority nations.
Cohen, as reported by Israeli media outlet Kan News, hinted at the possibility of “six or seven” Islamic nations normalizing ties with Israel, especially if Saudi Arabia were to join the Abraham Accords, which already include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
Jilani clarified that Cohen had not recently engaged with any Pakistani officials.
In 2005, during former President General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure, Pakistan’s then-foreign minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, held a public meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Silvan Shalom in Turkey, Istanbul. However, there have been no reported meetings at the foreign minister level or higher since then.
A senior Pakistani diplomat, speaking anonymously, expressed hope that Pakistan would not need to make a decision on this matter in the near future.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his address at the 78th United Nations General Assembly, mentioned that peace with Saudi Arabia would signify peace between the Muslim world and Jews. He also indicated that Israel was close to normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia while presenting maps including the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Netanyahu’s statement has ignited discussions about which Muslim-majority countries may establish relations with Israel, beyond the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
Cohen suggested that six or seven Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, might recognize Israel in the near future. However, the specific countries were not mentioned due to the situation in Libya.
Cohen’s previous disclosure of a meeting with Libya’s then-former foreign minister, Najla Mangoush, caused diplomatic issues and protests in North Africa. Mangoush was subsequently dismissed from her position and left for London. This incident led to criticism from US officials for disrupting communication with Libya.