New Delhi. President Pranab Mukherjee on May 16 received Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also hosted a banquet in his honour.
Welcoming the Palestine President, the President recalled his visit to Palestine in October 2015 and warm hospitality of the Government and people of the State of Palestine. Mr Mukherjee congratulated Mr. Mahmoud on his re-election as chairman of Fateh Party. He said in the re-election of Mr. Mahmoud people of Palestine have made it clear that their primary aspiration is for peace and strong leader who will lead them towards their aspirations.
The President said India attaches great importance to its bilateral relations with Palestine which have gained momentum and expanded in recent years. He expressed hope that this visit will take the two countries cooperation further and diversify their relations for the benefit of both the people, and also expressed happiness over the fact that most of the projects announced during President’s visit to Palestine are taking shape.
The President said India’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and its friendship with the people of Palestine have become an integral part of its time tested foreign policy.
Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Mukherjee said India attaches high value to its long standing friendship and close co-operation with Palestine. “Over the years, our bilateral relationship has expanded – to encompass many more areas of common interest. India remains firmly committed to assist the Palestinian people in achieving their developmental goals.”
The President said India earnestly hopes for early resumption of talks between Palestine and Israel leading to the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine. “We wish that the creation of a Palestinian State – that is a full member of the comity of nations, becomes your lasting personal legacy to your people. India has been happy to contribute to Palestine’s nation-building endeavour through technical and financial assistance.”
President Mukherjee said it is a matter of satisfaction that our Governments have agreed to intensify our mutual co-operation in the fields of security, information and communications technology, agriculture, education, culture, healthcare and sports. “The youth exchange programme initiated by our Governments will help in forging a partnership between our future leaders for enhancing the mutual understanding between our peoples.”
Mr Mukherjee said this is a time of unprecedented global challenges. The scourge of terrorism is, unfortunately, one of the biggest threats faced by the international community. India believes that there can be no justification, whatsoever for terrorism. Its use as an instrument of state policy is perilous and reprehensible. “We believe that closer co-ordination and concerted efforts by the international community are necessary to tackle this menace effectively.”