Talks would lead to comprehensive peace for Middle East: Patil

Damascus (Syria), Nov.28 (ANI): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has said India remains hopeful that talks would lead to a comprehensive peace process for a final resolution of the Middle East conflict.

In her speech at a banquet hosted in her honour by the President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, Patil said: "We remain hopeful that the talks and negotiations would lead to a comprehensive peace process."

"We have supported the Arab Peace Plan, which calls for withdrawal of Israel to pre-1967 borders, along with the recognition of Israel, and the establishment of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital," she added.

"We share the perception that the conflict in West Asia is essentially political in nature, and cannot be resolved by force," she added.

In line with India's support for UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, Patil said: "India supports a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel, as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap and UNSC Resolutions 1397 and 1515.

Further conveying sincere appreciation for Syria's support for India's election to the UN Security Council for 2011-2012, Patil said: " Membership of the Security Council confers a special responsibility on us. During our forthcoming term in the Security Council, we will seek to discharge our duties and obligations constructively and objectively as a responsible member of the international community.

"We hope to work closely with other member states for a balanced approach on peace and security issues," she said.

" We highly appreciate the consistent support expressed by Syria for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council," she added.

Highlighting the cultural relation between the two nation, Patil said: "Our two countries are inheritors of ancient civilizations that have cherished and preserved their age old value systems, including respect for diversity and equal treatment for all religions."

"Our contacts go back at least 4000 years, when India used to send raw silk and spices to Syria, and receive in return gold and silk fabric. Our trading interaction through the ancient silk route was accompanied with the awareness about each other's culture and knowledge," she added. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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