Israel and PA should opt for direct talks: Ahamed

Israel and PA should opt for direct talks: Ahamed Ramallah: Expressing India's support to the Palestinian cause, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed on Saturday called upon Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to opt for direct talks to resolve final status issues.

"Our support for the Palestinian people has not just been limited to economic and humanitarian issues, but also in several other areas.

"India was the first non-Arab state to recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organisation", Ahamed told young Palestinians assembled at the inauguration of a multi-purpose sports centre in Ramallah built by joint financial assistance from India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA).

"The issue of Palestine has taken a decisive turn after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership at the United Nations.

"Our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his steadfast support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital living side by side with Israel", the Indian minister said.

He said India "believes that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians is the only way to resolve final status issues."

Peace talks between Israel and the PA has hit a roadblock with the Palestinian leadership demanding that the Jewish state first put a complete halt on building activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the new sports centre consists of a 1000 square meter multipurpose sports hall comprising an indoor basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, tennis, and handball court, according to international standards.

The facility will be also utilised for gymnastics as well as other sporting activities.