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Resume Middle East peace process: India

March 29, 2007 23:30 IST

Calling for the early resumption of the Middle East peace process, India on Thursday said it supports comprehensive and just peace in the region.

It said this should be achieved through peaceful dialogue rather than force. Speaking at the 19th Summit of the League of Arab States in Riyadh, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said, "India believes in finding solutions through peaceful dialogue, discussion and reconciliation among the various groups involved rather than resort to force."

"India attaches a high priority to its multifaceted relations with the Arab nations", he said.

New Delhi fully supports a comprehensive and just peace that addresses all tracks of the Middle East peace process and wish for its early resumption in West Asia," he said.

"This summit acquires special significance as it is convened at a time when major events are engaging the Arab world and impacting the region.

"In the 21st century, even as India focuses with greater intensity on the Arab world, we witness growing and rapid engagement from Arab nations in the Indian economy and trade," he added.

Five million Indians live in Arab nations and engage in their economies and societies, he noted.

"We are happy to see that Arab Chambers of Commerce are already working on a track-II engagement and in the last year alone we have had delegations from several Arab countries in the Gulf, West Asia as well as North Africa, coming to India," he said.

Underlining India's close ties with Arab states, Ahamed said several top leaders from the region visited India, including Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in January 2006. "We were also privileged to receive King Abdullah of Jordan and Sheikh Sabah al Jaber al Ahmed al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait and very recently, His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Kingdom of Bahrain and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, besides hosting high level visits from Egypt and Morocco," he added.

"India has always extended principled and consistent support to Arab causes. The role and stature of League of Arab States has increased in international fora. It represents an important voice in mediation and dialogue for contentious issues agitating the region, in West Asia, Gulf or North Africa, that have an impact far beyond."

India was invited as an observer to the Arab summit.
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