Palestine leader heads to India next week (Lead)

September 7th, 2012 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Amid the flux in West Asia, India will reinforce its commitment to the Palestinian cause and will sign three pacts during the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next week.

Accompanied a host of senior ministers, Abbas will be here on his second state visit to India and his fourth to the country.

Abbas will hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sep 11 on a wide range of issues to bolster developmental partnership between the two sides. The two sides are expected to discuss a slew of issues, including the faltering peace process.

After the talks, the two sides will ink MOUs for cooperation in ICT, vocational training and constructing schools in Palestine.

The Palestinian leader will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee and meet External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. He will be accompanied by senior ministers.

During the visit, India is expected to reiterate its support for the Palestinian cause and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“India has called for an end to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and had welcomed the ‘direct talks’ between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” the external affairs ministry said here ahead of the visit.

“The visit will also provide an opportunity for reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral relations, the Middle East Peace Process, regional and international issues of common concern and in particular the political turmoil in West Asia,” the ministry said.

India has backed the Arab Peace Plan, which calls for withdrawal of Israel to pre-1967 borders, along with recognition of Israel and the establishment of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A fervent supporter of Palestine in multilateral fora, India has robustly supported the Palestinian application for membership of UN in 2011. India also supported Palestine in gaining membership in UNESCO in October 2011.

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