the Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Kasuri have held talks in Istanbul, the first such meeting between the two countries. Kasuri said Islamabad’s engaging with Israel in response to its pullout from the Gaza Strip.
“Pakistan’s a leading Islamic country and feels that durable peace regionally and globally lies in resolving long-standing disputes such as Palestine and Kashmir,” he said.
Israel, which has in the past been frozen out diplomatically by much of the Arab world, said it hoped it could open new channels of dialogue.
Shalom said: “We have contacts with all the Arab countries, but it’s only through secret channels, and we would like them to follow Pakistan today and to do it for their peoples and even for the Palestinians because it will be much easier for them to help the Palestinians.”
Shalom said he hoped the meeting would lead to full diplomatic ties being established with Islamabad. But Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said his country would only ever officially recognise Israel after a Palestinian state had been established.
Analysts believe Islamabad’s motivation to boost ties may be linked to Israel’s growing military links with Pakaistan’s neighbour and rival India.