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India says no change in its stand on Palestine

New Delhi: India today made it clear that there is no change in its “well-established” position on the Palestinian statehood which it recognised way back in 1988, amid the US threat to veto any resolution seeking full UN membership for Palestinians.

“Our position on Palestine issue is well-established and well-known. As far back as 1988 we recognised Palestine state and there is no change in it,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters here.

Replying to a question, he said it should not come as a surprise if there is a reference to the issue in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech to the UN General Assembly.

His comments came as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon forwarded the Palestinian application for recognition of a statehood to the President of the Security Council, where the US has threatened to veto any such resolution.

For the Palestinians, full membership depends on nine approved votes in the 15-member Security Council as well as concurrence of the five permanent members.

Palestinians Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Ban just before he addressed the 66th session of the General Assembly yesterday and submitted his application for Palestine to be admitted as a full member of the world body on the basis of June 4, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

“I call upon Secretary General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership,” Abbas said in his address.

“I also appeal to the States that have yet not recognised the State of Palestine to do so.”

Arguing that all previous peace efforts “were repeatedly smashed against the rocks of the positions of the Israeli government,” he said he was forced to seek full UN membership bid.

Abbas said he was ready to return to the negotiations with the Israelis, adding that he did not want to isolate or delegitimise the Jewish State.

The US has vowed to veto the unilateral Palestinian bid at the Security Council, saying talks between Israel and the Palestinians are the only real path to peace and statehood.

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