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India voices concern at escalation in Gaza, calls on parties to respect ceasefire

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, chairing the meeting at the UN Security Council on the Middle East Peace process said that India will remain fully supportive of all efforts to restart the peace process.

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United Nations: India on Monday voiced concern at the recent escalation of conflict in the Gaza Strip, and called on all parties to respect the ceasefire and refrain from acts that could exacerbate the tensions.

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, chairing the meeting at the UN Security Council on the Middle East Peace process, with India holding the month-long presidency, reaffirmed India’s call for regular and predictable transfer of aid and other essential items to Gaza to ease the humanitarian situation and facilitate early reconstruction.

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He said that India will remain fully supportive of all efforts to restart the peace process.

“Given our long-standing and firm commitment to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine, within secure, recognised and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace and security, India will remain fully supportive of all efforts to restart the peace process.”

Shringla said that India recognises the efforts made by the UN and regional countries to prevent the renewed hostilities from escalating into another military conflict.

He said India takes note “of the incremental relaxation of restrictions for entry of commodities into the Gaza Strip and urges the parties to work together to ensure timely access to such relief for the Palestinians. This would create conditions which will help in preventing another round of escalation.”

He said that the Israeli and Palestinians must desist from provocative action in the interest of peace and stability.

“We note the progress in the legal challenge to the eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and underscore the need for respecting the historic status quo in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhoods. We also urge parties to refrain from unilateral measures that undermine the viability of the two-State solution.”

“Amidst these concerns, the decision by Israel to increase the number of work permits issued to Palestinians will help strengthen both the Palestinian and Israeli economies. Further, the recognition of COVID-vaccination certificates issued by the Palestinian Authority and the facilitation of passage of patients from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank are also positive signals.

“India welcomes all measures which create greater opportunities for the socio-economic development of the Palestinian people,” he said.

Outlining India’s development cooperation with Palestine, he said that India has helped in building schools, setting up ICT and Vocational Training Centres, a Technology Park and a National Printing Press; and is also supporting several other quick-impact community projects in Palestine.

He said the recent agreement for resumption of cash assistance to needy Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip is an important development as it would provide much needed relief for these families.

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