Statement by Mr. Kamlesh Paswan, Hon’ble Member of...
Statement by Mr. Kamlesh Paswan, Hon’ble Member of...
Statement by Mr. Kamlesh Paswan, Hon'ble Member of Parliament of India at the Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question in the United Nations Security Council on October 22, 2015
1. Thank you for convening of this quarterly open-debate on the situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian Question at the Ministerial level. I also thank today's briefers for their comprehensive briefing.
2. The situation in the Middle East region continues to remain fragile and unpredictable with unprecedented changes in several countries in the region. This quarterly debate gives us an opportunity to take stock of developments in the region especially the Middle East Peace Process. But more important however is the response by the Council. We have seen that the Council has at best been a standby witness to phases of escalation and relative calm which has become characteristic of this unsettled issue. The effectiveness of the Council has consequently been brought into question. We join others in urging the Council to step up its efforts and take the lead in resolving this problem.
3. Our position on the Middle East Peace Process is very clear. India supports a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap and relevant UNSC Resolutions. India has always played a proactive role in garnering support for the Palestinian cause in multilateral fora. We supported the recent vote in the General Assembly on raising the flags of non-member observer states.
4.Recently, the Indian President concluded a State visit to Palestine where he met with the Palestinian leadership and discussed whole range of bilateral, multilateral and regional issues. The visit reinforces India's strong commitment to the Palestinian cause and renews our political and diplomatic support to the State of Palestine in its endeavours to realize an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.
5. Apart from political support to the Palestinian cause, India continues to support the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine by consistently extending technical and financial assistance to Palestine. President of India during his visit to Ramallah inaugurated the India-Palestine Center for Excellence in ICT in the Al Quds University and also handed over a cheque worth US$ 5 million as a budgetary support to the Palestinian authority. Government of India has also announced its decisions to set up another such Center in Gaza with similar aims at an estimated cost of USD 1 million and an IT park in Ramallah at an estimated cost of US$ 12 million and a Palestinian Institute of Diplomacy at an estimated cost of US$ 4.5 million. This is a part of India's larger capacity building initiatives in Palestine.
6. India contributes US $ 1 million annually to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). India pledged and contributed US$ 4 million in response to the National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza. We are undertaking important bilateral development projects in health, education, skill development, vocational training as well as providing budgetary support to the Palestinian Government. We are also implementing development projects in Palestine, jointly with Brazil and South Africa within the framework of IBSA, and have pledged US $ 1 million for a new project to reconstruct the Atta Habib Medical Centre in Gaza.
7. Today's debate is happening at another inopportune time where once again incidents of violence and the military responses, reasons notwithstanding, are taking the toll of lives on both sides. We are distressed and saddened by the ongoing situation and loss of lives. We welcome efforts to mitigate the situation and urge both sides to exercise restraint to reduce the level of tensions and create a conducive environment for resumption of peace talks.
8.We are particularly worried that since last year there has been a downward trend in the Peace Process despite efforts for serious negotiations between the parties which remained inconclusive. Unilateral actions by the parties unfortunately are moving them further apart.
9. India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issue. The imperative need is for restraint, to avoid provocation and unilateral actions and to return to the peace process. We remain hopeful and urge both sides to resume the peace process soon, for a comprehensive, just and lasting resolution of the Palestinian issue.
10. We express our deep concern with the activities of proscribed outfits, radicalized and extremist groups in the West Asia and Gulf region especially in northern parts of Iraq and Syria which are critically impacting on peace and stability in the region. 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. Efforts must be taken by all parties and stakeholders in the region to curb these dangerous trends. We believe the consolidation of political processes and solutions while building durable state institutions will be the effective way of addressing such extremism and radicalism in the region.
11. India remains deeply concerned about the worsening political and security situation in Yemen. We have been urging all concerned parties in Yemen to amicably resolve their differences and we hope that the UN-mediation efforts would assist the people of Yemen in finding a consensus-based solution.
12. Turning to Syria, we would like to express our continued concern at the ongoing violence in Syria and loss of human lives. India has consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the crisis, bringing all parties to the conflict to the negotiating table. It has to be a Syrian-led process, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria in alignment with the Geneva Communique 2012. T here can be no military solution.
13.The humanitarian crisis arising out of the situation has to be addressed effectively. It is with this conviction we contributed US $ 2 million to the UN Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan in 2014 and contributed another US $ 2 million in 2015. We are also hopeful and supportive of the efforts made by the UN Special Envoy on Syria Mr. De Mistura to carry forward the political process in carrying out parallel negotiations in four sub groups focusing on different issues. We urge all parties to demonstrate the requisite political will, exercise restraint, and commit to seeking common ground in accommodating their differences.