UNITED NATIONS - Welcoming the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and the Palestinians, Pakistan on Tuesday called for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, stating the two sides must work for real progress towards resolving the decades-old Middle East conflict.

"The latest round of talks should set clear benchmarks and time lines," Ambassador Masood Khan told United Nations Palestinian Rights Committee, while underscoring the urgency to promote peace and stability in the troubled region. "Talks for the sake of talks could create an illusion without any progress on the substance. That would disappoint everybody. The two sides should not go through the motions but work for real movement and progress," the Pakistani envoy said, as he expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Emphasising that the two-State solution should not be allowed to slip away, he said, "The formula for the Middle East peace is already on the table."

"The talks should actualise a two-State solution which paves the way for a viable Palestinian State created on the basis of pre-1967 borders with Al Quds al Sharif as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security," Masood Khan said while commending the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry that resulted in the renewal of the stalled peace process..

"Simply put, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem should be part of the Palestinian State," he said, adding, the rights of the Palestinians should be respected.

"This is a special moment for Palestine and the international community," the Pakistani envoy said. Noting that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank have doubled since 2000, he told delegates that demographic balance was shifting.

"While the talks are taking place, the two sides should exercise maximum restraint in making public pronouncements that would complicate the negotiating process," he added.

He also welcomed the Israeli announcement to release 104 prisoners, stating that the measure should be implemented expeditiously.

"More confidence building measures will help. More Palestinian prisoners should be released," he said. "Settlements in the occupied territories should be frozen. The blockade in Gaza should be eased, and restrictions on movement removed,” he added.