Pakistani president criticizes Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories

2012-12-25 13:50:43 GMT2012-12-25 21:50:43(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday criticized illegal settlements by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying it would affect the peace process.

He was speaking at a ceremony in Karachi to celebrate the upgrade of the Palestinian status to non-member observer state in the United Nations. "We strongly oppose all illegal settlements on occupied territories. We are deeply disappointed at Israel's recent announcement of building new settlements in East Jerusalem. Israel is unwilling to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to statehood. But this right cannot be denied for long," he said.

Zardari also pointed out that the international community had openly denounced the building of new settlements.

The president said that these settlements, if allowed to continue, would ruin the peace process.

He added that the non-member observer state status to Palestine in the United Nations was a historic occasion for the Muslim world and more so for the Palestinian people.

"On behalf of the people of Pakistan and on my own behalf I wish to express my heartiest congratulations to our Palestinian brothers on this great achievement", he added.

According to him, Pakistan was also among the original co- sponsors of the first resolution on Palestine adopted by the United Nations.

"We are convinced that peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved without giving the Palestine people their right. We support the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state. We support Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We favor an early settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution," Zardari said.

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