India to back Palestine's full UN membership bid



New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India will continue to support Palestine's bid for full and equal membership of the United Nations.

"India had played an active role in supporting the efforts of the State of Palestine to secure full membership status at UNESCO. We will continue to support Palestine's bid for full and equal membership of the United Nations," said Dr Singh in his statement during the state visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We also look forward to early resumption of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis leading to a comprehensive resolution between the two sides," he added.

Dr Singh said that he had very fruitful discussions with the visiting Palestinian President.

"President Abbas and I have held useful discussions aimed at further expanding and strengthening the India-Palestine partnership, which is rooted in history and flows from our national ethos," he said.

Asserting that the support for the Palestinian cause has been a cornerstone of India's foreign policy, Dr Singh said: "During our meeting, I reiterated India's firm support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to achieve a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel."

The Prime Minister said India would bilaterally continue to support the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine.

"The MOUs signed today are indicative of our commitment to contribute in the areas of Information and Communication Technology, vocational training and education," said Dr Singh.

"The Government of India will also contribute USD 10 million to Palestine's budget for this year to help address its financial requirements," he added.

Dr Singh said that he also exchanged views with President Abbas on regional developments, particularly the developments in the West Asian and the Gulf region.

"There is a great degree of similarity in our views. We both agree that the developments in the region must be addressed through political dialogue and peaceful means without recourse to violence and outside interference, while taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all people," said Dr Singh.

"I look forward to working together with President Abbas to further carry forward our special bilateral relations," he added.

The Prime Minister further said President Abbas will inaugurate the new Palestinian Embassy building later in the day, which has been built with Indian support.

"The building is a symbol of the enduring friendship between our two countries and peoples," he added.

Earlier in the day, President Abbas received a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here this morning.

He was received by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Singh at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He inspected the guard of honour and also met members of the Indian Cabinet.

ANI