UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has called for collective action to deal with the Islamic State, stating that the “hydra-headed monster” is spreading its poisonous philosophy around the world and perpetrating acts of terrorism against States and individuals.

“We must together stop this tide to save our global civilisation”, Ambassador Masood Khan, the Pakistani permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council on Thursday.

At the same time, he voiced Pakistan’s concern over impasse in Israeli-Palestinian talks, and urged the Council members to work on a resolution that could pave the way to a clearly marked pathway to peace. Speaking in a debate on the situation in the Middle East, he said that Pakistan “unequivocally” condemned Islamic State’s terrorism and rejected the notion of the so-called Caliphate.

He said the IS was the product of the civil war in Syria, which now in its fourth year — the last year being the deadliest.   “This progressive deterioration must be halted.”

He expressed full support to Secretary General’s Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s efforts to arrange localised ceasefires and initiate a political process.

Emphasising the need for united action by the Security Council, Pakistani envoy said that the last year’s destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons programme demonstrated what could be accomplished when this Council was united.

On the broader Middle East question, the Pakistani envoy said, “Absence of engagement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, a constant state of fear and animosity between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and continuing violations of the Palestinians rights do not constitute a state of limbo but a very precarious and perilous situation.”

“Violence and conflict can erupt any moment.”

“A fresh push towards peace is urgently needed,” the Pakistani envoy said as he called for some initial steps, including immediate release of the withheld tax revenues by Israel to the Palestinian Authority, lifting blockade of Gaza and honouring of pledges of reconstruction of Gaza should by contributors and donors.  “International efforts to resume the peace process, based on internationally agreed parameters, should be reinitiated,” he said. Masood Khan noted that Palestine had acceded to more than 15 international conventions and treaties and was expected to soon become a State party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  The Palestinian Statehood had been increasingly recognised worldwide, including by Sweden, United Kingdom and Ireland, he said.

Despite those developments, he said, the Council had failed to pass a resolution based on agreed parameters, which had a strong justification for adoption. Diplomatic efforts, including a track led by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, appeared to have lost momentum, and he called for fresh efforts to bring peace in the region.  

The two sides must coexist in the same geographical space within the pre-1967 borders, the Pakistani envoy said. “Therefore, the only path to a viable and sustainable peace is the establishment of the State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, and vacation of all Arab lands by Israel, including the Syrian Golan.”

In conclusion, Masood Khan remarked, “I participated, as a Council member, in the debate on the Middle East in late 2012. The atmosphere was one of bewilderment, self-flagellation and helplessness. Two years down the road,  as I prepare to leave the  post, nothing has changed. Palestine was an issue 100 years ago. It is still a vexing issue that keeps the entire international community hostage. This historic impasse must be broken through enlightened and resolute diplomacy.”

Masood Khan will leave his post next month when Maleeha Lodhi will take over as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN.