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India hopes for early resumption of Palestine, Israel direct negotiations

Reaffirming India's principled and consistent support to the Palestinian cause, Bhattacharyya expressed hope for early resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a "sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine living within secure and recognised borders, side by side and at peace with Israel". "Both sides exchanged views on the COVID-19 situation and discussed the steps being taken to address the public health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic," the MEA said.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 10-09-2020 22:52 IST | Created: 10-09-2020 22:39 IST
India hopes for early resumption of Palestine, Israel direct negotiations
Representative image Image Credit: Devdiscourse News Desk

India on Thursday hoped for an early resumption of direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel to achieve a sovereign, independent and united Palestinian state living within secure and recognised borders. This hope was expressed by India at the third round of bilateral Foreign Office Consultations held through video conference with the Indian side led by Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (Consular, Passport and Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs) and the Palestinian side headed by Deputy Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine, Amal Jadou Shakka.

Both sides comprehensively reviewed the bilateral relations, and also took stock of the progress achieved on decisions taken at the last Joint Commission Meeting held in Ramallah in November 2016 and during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Palestine in February 2018, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Reaffirming India's principled and consistent support to the Palestinian cause, Bhattacharyya expressed hope for early resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a "sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine living within secure and recognised borders, side by side and at peace with Israel".

"Both sides exchanged views on the COVID-19 situation and discussed the steps being taken to address the public health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic," the MEA said. Shakka thanked India for the COVID-related medical assistance and repatriation of Palestinians stranded in India through the 'Vande Bharat' Mission flights, it said.

They appraised the progress of eight ongoing projects in Palestine implemented under a cumulative grant of USD 59 million, and agreed on fast-tracking them where feasible, the MEA said. These projects include construction of three schools, an IT park, a women empowerment centre, a diplomatic institute, a super specialty hospital and supply of equipment for their national printing press.

Both sides will sign additional protocols for extending the time-lines of some of the projects in the coming weeks, the MEA said. Education and capacity building cooperation is an important plank of India-Palestine relations.

Apart from 150 ITEC slots and 100 ICCR scholarships given annually, the government of India has been organising several tailor-made training programmes for Palestinian government officials, the MEA said. The Indian side offered grant of scholarships to Palestinian students for degree courses in nursing, pharmacy, pathology, paramedics, etc. and internship programmes for their doctors in Indian hospitals.

The MEA will further sponsor training of Palestinian 'solar mamas' at Barefoot College, Tilonia; organise an artificial limb fitment camp in Ramallah in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS); and undertake a number of quick impact community projects as per requirements of the Palestinian side, the statement said. Both sides exchanged views on issues confronting the broader West Asia region, it said.

Bhattacharyya also briefed Shakka about developments in India's neighborhood..


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