India calls for end to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine

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New Delhi, Oct 9 (UNI) India has called for an end to expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine and early and significant easing of restrictions on the free movement of persons and goods within Palestine.

New Delhi also offered to assist Palestine in its efforts at achieving economic self-reliance and renewed its commitment to the economic development of Palestine, including through provision of assistance to the capacity building efforts of the Palestine National Authority (PNA) while both sides agreed to consider formation of a Joint Committee to discuss bilateral economic cooperation activities.

A Joint Statement issued here today after the conclusion of the three-day State visit of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas to India said India reiterated its support for the Arab Peace Plan.

India also reaffirmed support for the Palestinian cause in line with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), calling for a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine living within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace with Israel as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap and UNSC Resolutions 1397 and 1515.

Mr Abbas was accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr Riyad Al-Malki, Advisor to the President and Official Spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeineh, Advisor to the President Ziad Abu 'Amr and other officials.

During the visit, Mr Abbas called on President Pratibha Patil, who hosted a banquet in his honour. Vice President Hamid Ansari called on President Abbas.

Mr Abbas and Prime Minister Mammohan Singh held delegation-level discussions on various issues of bilateral , regional and international interest.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition L K Advani and Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed called on President Abbas.

''Bilateral discussions reflected the traditionally close and cordial ties between India and Palestine and the solidarity that the Government and people of India have always shown for Palestine,'' the Joint Statement said.

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