Pranab meets ministers from other nations; focuses Palestine

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United Nations, Sep 26 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee here met with his counterparts from Albania, Nepal and other nations with a view to strengthen the bilateral relations.

The opening of Albanian embassy in New Delhi as well as India's offer to hold next year's ministerial meeting of the Central American Integration System (known by its Spanish acronym SICA) and its acceptance were the highlights of the meetings conducted yesterday during Mr Mukherjee's current sojourn to the United Nations and New York.

Pledges to enhance cooperation in the fields of commerce and trade were also made, apart from boosting ties in various other fields.

The minister also took part in a Non-Aligned Movement's committee meeting on Palestine. The meeting, comprising ministerial chairpersons of earlier NAM gatherings, was held to review the situation in the occupied Palestinian areas. A briefing from the Palestinian leadership was also made at the meeting.

While welcoming the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue, Mr Mukherjee urged that a time-bound agenda was must for this dialogue. He condemned violence and counter violence in the areas and said there can be no justification for targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The excellent state of bilateral relationship with Nepal came under review during the meeting with Nepal Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan. After discussing the current peace process in the Himalayan nation, Mr Mukherjee invited Mrs Pradhan to India at her convenience.

SICA ministers from nations such as Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua indicated their intention to open embassies in New Delhi next year.

The minister, who is leading an official Indian delegation to the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly, arrived in New York on Sunday. Apart from participating in 'India- At Sixty' weeklong celebrations being held here, the he met several dignitaries discussing issues of mutual concern. He is expected to speak at the UN General Assembly session on Monday.


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