Islamabad Refutes ‘Baseless Speculation’ It Is Cozying Up to Israel
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday vehemently denied reports that the country was on its way to normalizing relations with Israel, even as other Muslim nations, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, continue on their path to formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. Islamabad “categorically rejects baseless speculation regarding the possibility of recognizing the State of Israel,” a statement released by the ministry read, stressing that “Pakistan steadfastly supports the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination.” Earlier this month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan admitted he had come under pressure by foreign allies, presumably the United States, to join other states in the region in signing the Abraham Accords and normalizing ties with Jerusalem. “For me, there has never been a second thought on this,” Khan explained. “We cannot accept Israel […] until Palestinians are given a just settlement.” On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared to confirm that he had secretly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia earlier that day. Officials in Riyadh confirmed the rare get-together to The Wall Street Journal and said the two leaders discussed normalizing ties, among other issues. Yet hours later, the Saudi foreign minister denied the entire meeting took place.