India reaffirms support to Palestinian cause, opposes use of for

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Cairo, Jul 3 (UNI) India and Egypt have opposed use of force and violence in West Asia while New Delhi reaffirmed support to the Palestinian cause and called for early resumption of talks under the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP).

The two countries also expressed concern at the phenomenal rise in food and fuel prices in recent months and resolved to work together in addressing these challenges.

They emphasized the importance of food and energy security, especially for developing countries like India and Egypt.

They underscored the importance of continuing consultation and co-ordination between them in the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and other international fora.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who concluded his three-day visit to Egypt today, held wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and international situation, including West Asia, with Egyptian President Hosni Mubaarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

He also had a meeting with Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of the Arab States, before his departure from Cairo.

''India reiterated consistent support for the Palestinian ause and called for early resumption of negotiations on all tracks under the Middle East Peace Process. Both sides agreed that force and violence would not lead to peace in the region,'' an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the developments in recent months in the evolution of friendly relations between India and Egypt.

They reaffirmed their resolve to further broaden and deepen the close and friendly ties between the two peoples and to enhance bilateral cooperation in different fields.

Mr. Gheit and Mr Mukherjee recognised the immense potential for enhancing economic cooperation between India and Egypt.

The two sides reiterated their commitment to diversify and deepen the scope of their economic, trade and investment linkages.

They took note of the recent visits to India by the Egyptian Minister of International Co-operation who attended the India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi, and by the Egyptian Ministers of Trade and Industry and Agriculture and Land Reclamation.

They also noted the visits to Egypt by Home Minister Shivraj Patil in January this year and the recent visits of the Minister of State for Commerce and Power for the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and the Minister of State for External Affairs for the African Union summit.

The Ministers agreed that the discussions held during the recent exchanges of high-level visits had thrown up new opportunities for strengthening political and economic interaction between India and Egypt.

UNI RB RL KN1708

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