India, Palestine hold talks
NEW DELHI: India and Palestine on Friday discussed closer cooperation on the issue of international “terrorism” ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session due to open in New York at the end of September, a spokesman said.
The discussions took place between delegations led by visiting Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath and Indian Junior Foreign Minister Vinod Khanna.
“Other issues discussed included closer cooperation at the UN, particularly on the issue of terrorism, so that we can better coordinate our positions,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters. He said the talks were a “build up to further cooperation at the forthcoming UNGA.”
Sha’ath, who arrived early Friday for a two-day official visit, also met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and was due to call on President Abdul Kalam. He will call on India’s National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra on Saturday. The two sides held two-hour long delegation level talks in the afternoon during which a range of bilateral economic and international issues were discussed.
Sha’ath also briefed the Indian side on “his perspective of the peace process and the recent developments” in the region. On the economic front, cooperation in the small scale sector, IT and energy fields was discussed, the spokesman said.
On India’s position on the Middle East, Sarna said India has “clearly always called for peace” and that “anything that involves violence must be adjured.” Sarna said India’s standard position has been that “terrorism cannot be justified for any cause”.
Sha’ath’s visit comes shortly before a scheduled visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon early next month. Palestine’s ambassador to India, Osama Musa, told the Indian Express newspaper Friday that the foreign minister’s trip had “no connection” with Sharon’s visit. —AFP