Ambassador Sanjay Singh, His Excellency Mr. Adnan M.J. Abualhayjaa, Ambassador of State of Palestine in India, His Excellency Dr. Saud Mohammed Al-Sati, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Mrs. Alyaa Ghannam, Ambassador of the League of Arab States, Mr. Rene Van Berkel, UNIDO, Ambassador Bala Bhaskar, members of diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It has always been a great honor for Indian Council of World Affairs to host the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. Keeping its past tradition, this year too ICWA is hosting the event to reiterate India’s commitment to the cause of Palestine and express the solidarity with their prolonged struggles for an independent and sovereign nation along with the State of Israel.
India’s traditional support to the cause of people of Palestine is well known as India has historically stood by their cause. There are many ‘first’ to the credit of India when it comes to the issue of Palestine. Indian was the first non-Arab state to recognize PLO and was also the first non-Arab nation to recognize the state of Palestine in November 1988.
India’s support to the Palestinians has not been confined to diplomatic and political support. We have also extended material support in various forms, including assistance for humanitarian relief and development projects. India has shown its deep constant concern to the Palestinian refugees and has been a constant donor within its own limitations for the cause of Palestinian refugees.
Our Prime Minister has given a message on this solemn occasion which I have the honour to read out:
"On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I reiterate India's strong support for the Palestinian cause. I also express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their efforts to establish a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine co-existing peacefully with Israel.
My visit to Palestine last year contributed substantially to further strengthening the historic ties between India and Palestine. Our enhanced project assistance and capacity building initiatives will continue to contribute to Palestinian nation building.
As we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, we hope for an early resumption of the dialogue between Palestine and Israel for moving towards a comprehensive and negotiated resolution.
On behalf of the people of India, I extend my best wishes to the friendly people of Palestine in their pursuit of statehood, peace and prosperity."
To express our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, today we have several dignitaries in this hall who would present their views on the subject.