India reiterates `unequivocal support` for Palestinian state


UNITED NATIONS,Sep 23 (agencies): Amid a last-ditch American effort to head off a Palestinian bid for membership in the United Nations, India has reiterated its absolute `unequivocal support` for a Palestinian state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Thursday to address the United Nations, sent a letter Sep 19 to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas assuring him of India`s full support at the UN, India`s permanent representative to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri , told the strong India media contingent present here.

There are all indications that Abbas, after his address to the UN General Assembly Friday, would inform UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon that the Palestinian authority stands ready to assume the responsibility of a state, he said.

Efforts were also on to persuade Abbass not to approach either the General Assembly or the UN Security Council for full membership of UN at this stage amid efforts to facilitate direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Puri said.

Speeches at the UN in support have not left Palestine with many choices, he said. The United States too would prefer not to cast a veto if the matter comes up before the Security Council. But if left with no choice they too appeared ready to veto the move.

Noting that India was the first non-Arab State to recognise Palestinian state as far back as 1988, Puri said Manmohan Singh had in his letter reiterated that India will support the Palestine cause.

`India`s support for Palestine state is 100 percent, unequivocal,` Puri said in response to a question and if it comes to a vote `India will vote for it the General Assembly and the Security Council.`

`There is no question of India coming under pressure on the Palestine question,` he said.

Indications are that in the General Assembly that Palestine could seek enhancement of their observer entity status to a non-member observer status, Puri said. `Which way it would go – to the General Assembly or the Security Council – was an issue of negotiations – tactic,` he said.

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts were on at the UN to persuade Abbas to refrain from bringing the Palestinian issue to a head with suggestions that direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations could be jump started.


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