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Statement made by Jaswant Singh Minister of External Affairs in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour, on the situation in West Asia

December 05, 2001
New Delhi

We are deeply concerned at the recent escalation of violence in the region. The terrorist attacks have led to large number of casualties and injuries to very many innocent people. We condemn such acts. There can be no justification for such acts. The need of the hour is restraint to break this cycle of violence and hatred. We have taken note of President Arafat’s condemnation of such acts of terrorist violence and the steps taken by the Palestinian National Authority to arrest the people with a history of terrorist violence. We sincerely hope that nothing will be done to undermine President Arafat and Palestinian National Authority as the alternatives are fraught with dangers having serious implications for regional peace and security.

As recently as November 27, 2001, the Prime Minister sent a message of support on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. I will read out a brief excerpt from this statement as this fully illustrates our principled and consistent position:

“India fully supports all efforts to break the cycle of violence, bring about a cease-fire and to build mutual trust and confidence through the steps outlined in the Mitchell Report and the Tenet Plan. A definitive resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute should result in the creation of a viable state of Palestine, alongside Israel, within secure and recognized borders, in implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2442 and 338 and of the principle of ‘Land for Peace’ that has underpinned the peace process in West Asia. We call on both sides to immediately resume negotiations focused on confidence building and with a vision for the future.”

I will also like to inform the House that the Government of India is observing today the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

We also strongly condemn Israeli air attacks against the office of President Arafat and other Palestinian institutions. Such acts are not justified. We believe that one act of violence should not lead to another act of violence and the cycle of violence must end. Our support to the Palestinian people has been consistent. We were the first Asian country to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988.