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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 13.10.2015

President Mahmoud Abbas of the State of Palestine hosted yesterday (October 12, 2015) a Banquetin honour of President Pranab Mukherjee in Ramallah.

In his banquet speech, President Mukherjee said India attaches great importance to its long standing friendship with Palestine.India's empathy with the Palestinian cause and its friendship with the people of Palestine have become an integral part of our foreign policy.India has always stood beside Palestine. India'spolicy on Palestine has three core dimensions: solidarity with the Palestinian people; support to the Palestinian cause; and, partnership in Palestine's nation and capacity building efforts. The Indian leadership, across the political spectrum, remains unwavering and steadfast in its support for the Palestinian cause.

The President said peace and stability in the region is in India's interest. India shares the perception that resolution of the longstanding Palestinian issue will contribute to the peace and stability of the region. India is, therefore,concerned about the stalled peace process. India supports a negotiated solution, resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. India would like to see the people of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel, as endorsed in the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet road map and relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

The President said India firmly believed that dialogue is the only viable option in the search for a just, durable, comprehensive and peaceful solution of the Palestinian issue. Diplomacy and statesmanship have to prevail over hatred and violence in the search for lasting and durable peace. The President shared his sincere hope of early resumption of the peace process between all relevant parties and prayed that it will soon lead to the amicable resolution of conflict in this region.

The President also congratulated President Mahmoud Abbas on the historic installation of the national flag of Palestine at the United Nations on September 30, 2015 and said India shares Palestine pride and joy on this momentous occasion and also its sense of optimism that this is an important step towards the realization of the dream of the people of Palestine for a separate homeland.

This release issued at 1300 hrs.