India to continue support for Palestinian cause: Sibal

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Washington, Nov 28 (UNI) India has pledged ''continued commitment and support for the Palestian cause'' in a meeting with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas here.

Science, Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Kapil Sibal, who led the Indian delegation to the International Conference to promote Arab-Israeli Peace held at Annapolis had a ''most friendly'' meeting with the Palestinian leader here yesterday.

The meeting took place after the Palestinian President and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reached agreement on Joint Understanding, launching the one-year long negotiating process between the parties on the Final Status Issues.

Mr Abbas expressed satisfaction about the Indian delegation's participation at the conference.

Sharing his assessment about the outcome of the conference, he briefed Mr Sibal about the procedures and working methods for conducting future negotiations.

The Palestinian President appreciated India for its assistance to the Palestine National Authority so far.

The Indian minister assured him that India would continue the cooperation in all areas desired by Palestinian authorities. He emphasised India's willingness to provide assistance in the field of police training and institution - building and human resource development.

President Abbas said he was looking forward to India's participation in the Donors Meeting which would be convened in Paris in December 2007.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed yesterday to seek a final-status peace accord by the end of next year - ending a seven year impasse. The United States would monitor the process.

They set up a steering committee to oversee the process that will begin its work on December 12, to be supported by regular twice-monthly meetings by the two leaders.

Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert would meet separately with US President George W Bush here today.

UNI

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