Will the Rockies smooth Israel’s road to Pakistan?

Israeli-Pakistani contacts were a possibility on weekend as Barak, Musharraf attended Aspen Ideas Festival.

July 1, 2012 02:37
1 minute read.
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharaf

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharaf 390. (photo credit: REUTERS/Andrew Winning)


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Israeli-Pakistani contacts were a distinct possibility over the weekend as Defense Minister Ehud Barak attended the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on Saturday alongside former Pakistani president and possible 2013 presidential candidate Pervez Musharraf.

Barak left late Thursday night for the United States with a stopover in New York, where he was scheduled to hold meetings at the United Nations. He then continued to Aspen for the Ideas Festival, an annual gathering of politicians, businessmen and leading thinkers to debate global issues.

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Barak was scheduled to be interviewed Saturday afternoon by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

It would not be the first time that Barak and Musharraf meet.

The two secretly met in Paris in 2008 for lengthy discussions about nuclear proliferation. At the time, Barak told Musharraf that he was concerned with the rise of Islamic extremists in Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons.

Israel and Pakistan do not maintain diplomatic ties, and contacts between officials of the two countries are rare.

Barak has warned privately in the past that while Iran could one day pose an existential threat, an Islamic bomb already exists in Pakistan and needs to be closely tracked by the West to prevent proliferation to rogue elements.

Musharraf, a retired four-star general, served as Pakistan’s 10th president from 2001 until 2008.

He has since lived in London in self-imposed exile. In 2010 he established the All-Pakistan Muslim League and is said to be planning a return to Pakistan in the coming months to begin his campaign for the presidential elections, scheduled for next year.

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