Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf said Thursday that his country would not recognize Israel till establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Addressing notables and tribal elders in Quetta, capital of southwestern Balochistan province, Musharraf said that Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri earlier Thursday held talks with his Israeli counterpart in Istanbul.
He categorically clarified that Israel could not be recognized till the resolution of the Palestinian issue in consonance with the aspirations of the Palestinian people and establishment of an independent Palestinian State.
He said that Pakistan was an important Islamic state and heavy responsibility lied with it for the resolution of the Palestinian dispute. "Pakistan would fulfill its responsibility in this regard, " he noted.
Musharraf said he had talked to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in this regard and recognition of Israel would be considered with the consultation of other Islamic countries.
Musharraf went on to say that he had been invited to address the American Jewish Congress during his visit to New York this month, which would help resolve the Palestinian issue.
The meeting between Kasuri and his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom has been the first-ever contact at the ministerial level in over 50 years, Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan told reporters in Islamabad at a press conference, without giving any details.
He reiterated Pakistan's principled stand on the Palestinian issue, saying it remained unchanged and that the meeting did not imply recognition of Israel by Pakistan.
Referring to the Kashmir dispute, Musharraf said that he would hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
He expressed the confidence that leaders of both countries would succeed in finding out an acceptable solution of the problem, which would help maintain peace and bring progress and prosperity to the entire region.
He reiterated that international terrorism could not be eliminated without resolving the long outstanding Kashmir and Palestinian disputes.