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India urges for political settlement in Middle East

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UN-NEW YORK-GAZA-FLAG-HALF MASTBy Arul Louis

┬áTo bring peace to the Middle East, India has called for political dialogue to find solutions to the hostilities wracking the region while urging strong action against extremist groups whose deadly violence “strikes at our common humanity.”

In a Security Council debate on the Middle East, Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji touched on the Palestine, Yemeni and Syrian crises, saying: “India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option” to solve the problems.

During the current conflict in Yemen that has pitched the Houthi rebels against the goverenment of exiled President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Mukerji said India has evacuated till last week 1,947 people from 48 countries, besides 4,741 Indians. The rescue effort was guided by the spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam,” meaning “World is one family,” and helped citizens of four of the five permanent of the Security Council, he said.

“We urge all parties in Yemen to return to the negotiating table forthwith,” Mukerji said. “Dialogue remains the effective solution to resolve all problems.”

He criticised the Security Council for its ineffectiveness in dealing with the Palestine crisis, saying it has “at best been a standby witness.”

While reiterating India’s support for the Palestinian cause, he said India wanted to see an independent Palestine “side-by-side with Israel.”

Mukerji said New Delhi was concerned by the “downward trend in the Peace Process” between Israel and the Palestinians and the “resumption of the tragic and escalated conflict in Gaza.” Asserting that that “unilateral actions by the parties” were “unfortunately moving them further apart,” he said, “Diplomacy and statesmanship have to prevail over hatred and violence; there is no other road to a lasting peace.”

Meanwhile, India was providing material help to Palestinians with a $4 million pledge for reconstruction of Gaza and a joint project with Brazil and South Africa, he said.

Proscribed outfits and extremist groups in the in northern parts of Iraq and Syria “are critically impacting on peace and stability in the region,” Mukerji said. “The violence perpetrated against the civilians especially against women and children, on the basis of religion, ethnicity as well as sectarianism strikes at our common humanity.”

He said all parties and stakeholders in the region must act to curb these dangerous trends.

India, Mukerji said, backed a Syrian-led political solution to the ongoing crisis there. “We would like to urge all parties to demonstrate the requisite political will, exercise restraint, and commit to seeking common ground in accommodating their differences” he said.

India had contributed $2 million last year for humanitarian work in Syria and has pledged another $2 million recently, he said.