New Delhi: India Thursday reaffirmed its unwavering support to the people of Palestine and reiterated its belief that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace can be achieved through talks leading to a "sovereign, independent, viable" state.
Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, speaking at the annual commemoration of the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People", also termed the UN upgrading the status of the Palestinian Authority to non-member observer status as a "a decisive achievement for Palestine" to reach its final goal of an independent state.
"Let me take this opportunity to re-affirm India's consistent and unwavering support to the friendly people of Palestine and reiterate India's belief that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region can be achieved through negotiations and dialogue so that a sovereign, independent, viable State of Palestine living side by side within secured borders, with the State of Israel, becomes a reality," the minister said at the event, organised by Indian Council of World Affairs here.
Ahamed said the "continued stalemate in the situation and hardening of positions was a matter of concern" and India was hopeful of resumption of direct talks between the two sides.
Ahmed Salem Al-Wahishi, chief representative of League of Arab States Mission, reading out the message of Nabil El-Arabi, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, expressed astonishment at the "international weakness to face the Israeli arrogance" and urged the UN Security Council to "shoulder its responsibility and revise its mechanism to face these Israeli unilateral measures that left no land to establish the Palestinian state based on the two-state solution".
He was referring to the recent flare up of violence in the Gaza Strip after Israel and Hamas launched missile attacks at each other, leading to the deaths many Palestinian women and children in Gaza.
El-Arabi said an Arab League delegation had witnessed "the huge destruction by the Israeli bombardment and aggression on the Palestinian people" and urged the international community to extend all support to the Palestinains people to enable them "to live in peace and stability like other people of the world".
Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator, read out the message of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said the upsurge in violence in the Gaza Strip had made him realise the "disastrous consequences, in particular for the civilian population - of the absence of a permanent resolution ot the conflict".
Ban said "final status issues can only be solved through direct negotiations" and it was crucial to sustain the ceasefire in Gaza.
He promised to do everything to support the goal that would meet the "legitimate aspirations of both sies".
ICWA Director General Rajiv K. Bhatia said India is a "passionate supporter" of the Palestinian cause and people. "The government of India has always called for a sovereign, independent state of Palestine alongside with Israel," he said.