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Palestinian Embassy to be opened in India


New Delhi : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas laid the cornerstone of the Palestinian Embassy in the Indian capital Tuesday, in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Speaking to the media, he said: “India is a supporter of Palestinian rights on an official as well as a public level.”

He added “Our relations with India are based upon mutual respect. India is one of the first countries to grant diplomatic recognition to the Palestinian National Authority, and one of the first countries to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.”

Manmohan remarked that India believed that the solution 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 living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel.

“India’s association with and commitment to Palestine is rooted in our modern history, going back to our struggle for independence.”

“As early as 1936, a ‘Palestine Day’ was observed in India and fraternal greetings were sent from Indian leaders to their Palestinian counterparts.”

Pointing out India’s participation in the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine formed in 1947 by the U.N. General Assembly, which marked the beginning of India’s support for the Palestinian Issue in the United Nations, and all other international forums.

Manmohan also said that his country recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people in 1974.

On March 26, 1980, India granted diplomatic recognition to the office of the PLO in New Delhi, two days before the historic first visit of Chairman Yassir Arafat to India. India recognized the state of Palestine soon after its proclamation in Algiers in 1988. India opened its Representative Office in Palestine in 1996.

He said, “In November 2007, India participated in the Annapolis Conference on peace in West Asia in the hope that a determined process would be launched to secure Palestinian rights and achieve a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region. That, regrettably, remains an elusive goal.”

He affirmed that India and Palestine have been steadfast partners over decades. India’s commitment to Palestine and its future should find one of its embodiments in the establishment of the Palestinian embassy, saying,

“I have no doubt that it will serve as a symbol of our friendship and solidarity in the future.”

He declared that India will continue to do all it can to assist Palestine in all its endeavors, including in capacity and institution building.

He pointed out the memorandum of understanding signed today to finance construction of a school is to be named the Jawaharlal Nehru High School in Abu Dis near Jerusalem.

Manmohan also announced “a grant of 10 million USD as budgetary support to the Palestinian National Authority to help meet its immediate requirements and an additional 10 million USD as assistance for development projects.”