ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani stated on Saturday that Pakistan's decision to establish relations with Israel will be based on its national interests and the interests of Palestinians.
According to Kan News, an Israeli media outlet, the minister's statement came after Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made claims about the normalcy of his country's relations with the Muslim world, particularly following speculation of a peace deal with Saudi Arabia.
Cohen stated that "six or seven" Islamic countries are expected to sign a normalization agreement with Tel Aviv if and when Riyadh joins the Abraham Accords with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
The Israeli minister also stated that he has met with leaders of several Muslim countries that have yet to recognize Israel.
In response to the Israeli FM's claim, Jalil clarified that Cohen had not recently met with any Pakistani official.
During former President General Pervez Musharraf's tenure, Pakistan's then-foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri met with his then-counterpart Silvan Shalom in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2005.
This was the first public meeting resulting from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan's efforts. Since then, however, no such meetings at the level of foreign ministers or higher officials have been reported in the media.
On the condition of anonymity, a senior Pakistani diplomat expressed hope that Pakistan would not have to decide on this matter soon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week at the 78th United Nations General Assembly that peace with Saudi Arabia means peace between the Muslim world and Jews.