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India committed to Palestine cause, also to two-nation solution

India committed to Palestine cause, also to two-nation solution

United Nations: While supporting a two-nation solution to the burning Israeli-Palestinian conflict, India also maintained its strong commitment to the Palestinian cause, India's delegate Kamlesh Paswan told the Security Council on Thursday.

Speaking at a Council debate on the situation in the Middle East, Paswan said: "India supports a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel."

"Today's debate is happening at another inopportune time where once again incidents of violence and the military responses, reasons notwithstanding, are taking the toll of lives on both sides." he said.

"We welcome efforts to mitigate the situation and urge both sides to exercise restraint to reduce the level of tensions and create a conducive environment for resumption of peace talks."

Dialogue is the only way to achieve lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, he said.

A Bharatiya Janata Party member of the Lok Sabha representing Bansgaon in Uttar Pradesh, Paswan is among five members of parliament drawn from the ruling and opposition parties who are a part of India's UN delegation.

The speech avoided any direct mention of Israel other than the vision of an independent Palestine existing side by side with it. Even as Israel and Palestine traded accusations during the debate, Paswan stayed away from the blame game.

When he spoke of President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Palestine Territory as the current round of conflict intensified, he was silent on the warm embrace of Israel during the same journey.

Paswan said Mukherjee's "visit reinforces India's strong commitment to the Palestinian cause and renews our political and diplomatic support to the state of Palestine in its endeavours to realize an independent and sovereign state of Palestine."

As evidence of India's support to the Palestinians' nation-building efforts, Paswan mentioned the opening of the India-Palestine Center for Excellence in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) at the Al Quds University in Ramallah by Mukherjee last week and the donation of $5 million to the Palestinian Authority.

He also said that India would set up another ICT Center in Gaza, an information technology park in Ramallah and a Palestinian Institute of Diplomacy.

"India has always played a pro-active role in garnering support for the Palestinian cause in multilateral fora," he added citing New Delhi's support at the General Assembly for raising the Palestine flag at the UN.

Surveying the other Middle Eastern hotspots, Paswan called upon all countries and stakeholders in the region to "curb" the activities of "proscribed outfits, radicalized and extremist groups in the West Asia and Gulf region especially in northern parts of Iraq and Syria."

He said India was concerned about the worsening situation in Yemen and hoped the UN-mediation efforts would help find a consensus on ending the conflict there.

On Syria, he asserted there can be no military solution to the civil war and called for a Syrian-led peace process.

India has contributed a total of $4 million to the UN Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan, he said.

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