India pledges $1 mn to UN agency for Gaza victims

January 2nd, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) India Friday pledged $1 million to a UN agency for providing relief to civilians in the Gaza Strip who have been badly affected by the Israeli air strikes and again urged for resumption of peace process in the region. In response to the flash appeal made by United Nations Refugee Welfare Agency (UNRWA), the Indian government has decided to extend an assistance of $1 million for use by the agency to provide shelters, cash assistance, essential household items etc., to affected families in Gaza, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said here.

“The government of India urges an immediate end to the violence witnessed in Gaza and its environs, so that further casualties amongst civilians are averted,” the spokesperson said. “This would help create an atmosphere for the peace process to resume,” he added.

The Congress party, which leads the ruling United Progressive Alliance, Friday expressed concern over the bombing of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Israel.

“The Congress wants that the world community should try to pressurise Israel through the UN so that the situation is resolved and the killing of innocents, especially women and children in this bombing, can be stopped,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad told reporters.

Last week, New Delhi came out with a strong statement condemning the “unwarranted use of force” by Israel and asked Tel Aviv to observe utmost restraint.

“The government of India urges utmost restraint so as to give peace a chance as the peace process may well get derailed irreversibly by Israel’s attack in the Gaza strip and continued violence,” the external affairs ministry spokesperson had said.

Israel has rejected any truce with Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip before cross-border rocket fire ceased and said its air strikes heralded “long weeks of military action”. Around 350 people have been killed and more than 800 wounded as the Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip entered its seventh day.

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