CAIRO, Egypt, (AP) -Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf made a surprise offer in a television interview Friday to visit Israel and help mediate in the conflict with Palestinians.
Pakistan — a key ally in the U.S.-led war against terrorism — has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel and supports a separate state for Palestinians with Jerusalem as its capital.
In an interview with the pan-Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya, Musharraf said he was “enthusiastic” to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and would go to Israel if his offer to mediate was accepted.
Musharraf said he could also start his talks first with the Palestinians, or “maybe in some third country … going to Israel is also a possibility.”
“It will be an honor, if I can contribute in any way,” said Musharraf, although he has so far not been asked to mediate. “If there was a role that I can play, and both sides accept that role, yes, indeed, I would like to play that role.”
The Pakistani leader suggested that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be solved unless solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are found first.
Pakistan has not been yet involved in any negotiations concerning the Arab region. But he hosted talks in late February in Islamabad, attended by Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, on issues ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the war in Iraq and the standoff between the West and Iran.