The Israeli and Pakistani foreign ministers held the first acknowledged high-level talks between the two countries, in a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

 Statement by FM Shalom after meeting with Pakistan FM Kasuri

 

Photo: Reuters

Statement by
Silvan Shalom
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
following his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri
Istanbul, 1 September 2005

I have just completed an historic first meeting with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, my colleague Khurshid Kasuri. Israel welcomes this meeting, and we hope that it will herald the beginning of an open and mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries.

Meetings such as this are a source of great encouragement and hope to the Israeli people – that through our efforts we are able to open new channels of dialogue, and build understanding between us and all the peoples of the world, including the Muslim nations. Such contacts also help strengthen the moderates on the Palestinian side – those who recognize that dialogue and acceptance must always be preferred to hatred, terror and extremism.
   
I wish particularly to thank President Musharraf for his courage in promoting peace and moderation in our region and in general.

It is no coincidence that this meeting took place here in Turkey, this great Muslim democracy, and Israel’s long-standing friend. Israel’s relations with Turkey are proof that Israel can enjoy good and mutually beneficial relations with our Muslim neighbors. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Prime Minister Erdogan and his government, for their friendship and commitment to promoting regional understanding, and for their generous hospitality here today.

This meeting comes at a time of great significance. New opportunities for progress towards dialogue and peace have been opened up.

It is our hope that through our efforts – including this historic meeting here in Istanbul today with Foreign Minister Kasuri – we will pave the way forward towards a future of peace, security and regional cooperation to the benefit of all peoples.