Israel-Palestine conflict: India reiterates need for direct peace talks

New Delhi : India has reiterated the need for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

The absence of such negotiations and the lack of a clear political horizon for the peaceful resolution of the conflict has consequences for both Israel and Palestine, a top foreign affairs ministry official said while addressing a programme on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting on Wednesday at Azerbaijan’s Baku.

“We have repeatedly emphasised that only a negotiated two-state solution leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine, taking into consideration Israel’s legitimate security concerns, can deliver lasting peace,” secretary (west) Sanjay Verma said.

“In this regard, we reiterate the need for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations between the parties on all final status issues,” he added.

Verma urged upon both the parties to cease violence and “avoid unilateral actions on the ground, which undercut the viability of the two-state solution, and furthers the trust deficit between the parties”.

The senior official made these observations while delivering the India statement at the Ministerial Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement on Palestine on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of NAM.

“India has had a long-standing relationship with Palestine based on deep-rooted historical and people-to-people ties,” Verma said.

He went on to add that Palestinians continue to face severe economic and humanitarian hardships.

“Unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population must be prioritised. Towards this end, India supports the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),” Verma said.

India, he added, appreciates the steps taken by the agency in enhancing transparency in its operations and adherence to the UN standards in humanitarian services and urge utmost diligence on the part of UNRWA to ensure that aid is only used for the purposes intended.

“Over the years, India has also continued to remain a committed development partner of Palestine, supporting its nation-building efforts. We are actively engaged in extending technical and developmental assistance to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. Our developmental support to the people of Palestine will continue,” he added.

Verma further said that “India remains committed to supporting all efforts to resume direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a two-state solution. Lasting peace in the region can be achieved only when there is a peaceful settlement to the question of Palestine.” — IANS

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