Expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India hopes for an early resumption of dialogue between Palestine and Israel for moving towards a comprehensive and negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his message on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Modi said, "I wish to convey India's strong support for the Palestinian cause and to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their efforts to establish a sovereign, independent and united State of Palestine co-existing peaceful with the State of Israel.
He said as the Day is marked, we hope for an early resumption of dialogue between Palestine and Israel for moving towards a comprehensive and negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Modi underscored that historical ties between India and Palestine have further strengthened in recent years, adding that his visit to Ramallah in February this year was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine.
"The visit was an assertion of India's strong commitment for the development of Palestine."
India has announced an increase in the annual scholarships for Palestinian students, six new projects including construction of a specialty hospital and an increase in its annual contribution to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East).
"Our financial and technical assistance is an expression of our strong resolve to strengthen Palestinian institutions," Modi said.
In his message Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a two-State solution where Israel and Palestine live side-by-side as sovereign nations is still "the only option" for lasting peace, and containing the situation is not sufficient."
Guterres said more than 40 years ago, the General Assembly established an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people to remind "us of our collective, unfinished task of resolving the question of Palestine. Over the decades, this has become one of the most intractable challenges for the international community, and we know only too well the tragic results."
He called on Palestinian and Israeli leaders "to restore faith in the promise" of the UN General Assembly resolution of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, fulfilling the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, with borders based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of both states East Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinian state.
This, he said, was "the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people."
India increased its annual financial contribution five-fold to the agency's core budget, from USD 1 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2018. India is also committed to contribute USD 5 million dollars in 2019.
As part of its ongoing assistance programmes in Palestine to strengthen capacity-building efforts focused on institutions, services and training personnel, India provides 150 places for Palestinian professionals every year in its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme.
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