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External Affairs Minister’s Intervention at Ministerial-Level Meeting of the NAM Committee on Palestine
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished members of the Committee,

At the outset, Mr. Chairman, allow me to thank you for organizing this meeting of the NAM Committee on Palestine.

NAM has consistently reaffirmed its longstanding support for the just cause of Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinian people. India as the founding member of the Movement has always supported the cause of the Palestinian people and its commitment to the Palestinian cause has been a core feature of its foreign policy. India’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its stance to the Palestinian question was inspired by its own freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi who supported rights of Palestinian people in his life time.

Mr. Chairman,

India believes that the solution to the Palestine issue should be based on the relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Plan and the Quartet Roadmap resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine within secure and recognized borders side-by-side at peace with Israel.

Mr. Chairman,

India expressed deep anguish and concern at the steep escalation of violence in Gaza, particularly large number of airstrikes and disproportionate use of force on ground, resulting in tragic loss of civilian lives, especially women and children and extensive destruction of houses and infrastructure during last months of July and August.

Mr. Chairman,

India welcomes the ceasefire between Palestine and Israel and call upon all sides to exercise maximum restraint and avoid taking any action that may lead to violation of present ceasefire and work towards a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue. India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issue.

Mr. Chairman,

It is important that the blockade on Gaza should be fully lifted and humanitarian supplies and desperately-needed materials for reconstruction allowed in without restrictions. We are concerned at the violence by non-state actors in the region which have the effect of serving as avoidable obstacles to the peace process, as well as to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of both the peoples to co-exist in peace and security.

Mr. Chairman,

Apart from strong political support to the Palestinian cause at international, regional and bilateral levels, India has been extending technical and economic assistance to the Palestine. The assistance has been for humanitarian relief, development projects, establishment of educational institutions, budgetary support, training of Palestinian officials etc. Additionally, India contributes US$ 1 million annually to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Jointly with Brazil and South Africa as partners in IBSA, India is implementing developmental projects in Palestine. India is committed to continue with its support for the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate India’s commitment to the work of this Committee. I am confident that under your guidance, we would contribute significantly to the work of the Movement in support of the Palestinian people.

I thank you.
26 September 2014
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