Pak-Israel contacts: Interesting history

Despardes.com
Engaging Israel discussed
Islamabad, Sept 25: Improvement in relations with Israel could help expedite the Middle East peace process, said Pakistan's Former foreign secretary Niaz A.Naik while a addressing a seminar 0n "Engaging Israel for Peace", arranged by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) here on Friday.
Mr Naik said Israel kept on supporting Pakistan time to time, and mentioned that it supported Pakistan on the forum of United Nations on a resolution against Soviet Union's aggression against Afghanistan.

Another former foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar revealed that as ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, he met the Israeli ambassador in Washington when there were rumors of a pre-emptive Israeli strike against Pakistan's nuclear installations but Israel made it clear that it had no such plan. He said the then Israeli foreign minister was in China where a similar assurance was held out by him.
Mr Khokar said as a foreign secretary, he remained in contact with Israel, and substantive discussions on various issues took place.

He said Israel was keen to establish relations with Pakistan and messages were sent to Islamabad by Tel Aviv, pointing out that there was no bilateral dispute between the two countries and that they did not pose a security threat to each other.

Mr Naik said there were other ways of establishing contact with Israel, short of according a formal diplomatic recognition to the country.

He disclosed that the first contact between Pakistan and Israel was
established way back in 1984 when the then vice chief of general staff, K.M. Arif, met his counterpart in Geneva.

General security and other related issues between the two countries came under discussion during the meeting, said Mr Naik.

He said he himself met the Israeli consul general when he was Pakistan
ambassador to the United Nations.

Naik said he also met Israeli military personnel when he went to South
Africa as Commonwealth observer to monitor historic elections in the
country.

"If we were to cooperate 10 years ago, things would have been different," he observed. He said Pakistan could have had sophisticated weapons from Israel in such a case, but lamented that the opportunity was missed.

Riaz Khokar said there was enormous international interest in the first ever open contact between Pakistan and Israel. He said there had been a history of contacts spread over a decade.

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