New York: Underlining that political instability, long-festering conflicts, sectarian divides, issue of refugees and terrorism continue to plague the Middle East, India on Monday called on concerned parties in the region to completely stop support to terrorist forces like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and others.|
In a statement during the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on ‘The Situation in the Middle East’, TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative at the UN, highlighted New Delhi’s stand on “interlinked and mutually reinforcing challenges” faced by the people of the Middle East and noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has only “exacerbated the threats posed by these challenges”.
India has invested much in the peace and stability of the region by deploying its personnel as part of UN peacekeeping forces, through humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and capacity building, and will continue its contribution towards peace-building in the Middle East, Tirumurti said.
“It is an unfortunate reality that the interlinked and mutually reinforcing challenges faced by the people of the Middle East have not yet been resolved. Political instability, long-festering conflicts, sectarian divides, issue of refugees and terrorism continue to plague the region. The COVID-pandemic has only exacerbated the threats posed by these challenges,” the statement read.
“India calls on concerned parties to completely stop support to terrorist forces like ISIL and others. India also urges all parties in the region to work constructively and in good faith to promote peace, stability and development for the benefit of all people in the Middle East,” it added.
Stressing that Palestinian aspirations for a sovereign and independent state are yet to be fulfilled, Tirumurti said India urges Israel and Palestine to resume direct negotiations at the earliest and asked the international community to take concrete steps towards resuming and facilitating these negotiations quickly.
“India has been unwavering in its commitment to the Palestinian cause and continues to remain supportive of a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Palestinian issue. India has supported the two-State solution as a just and acceptable solution to the conflict. Establishment of a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel, within mutually agreed borders should be achieved through negotiations directly by the two parties,” the statement read.
Tirumurti asserted that any “stalemate could strengthen the hands of extremists and shut the door to cooperation thereby jeopardising the security, stability and prosperity of the people on both sides and the region”.
He noted that India supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for an international conference organised by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to engage all concerned parties in a meaningful peace process.
New Delhi also appreciated the agreement between the two main Palestinian political parties–Fatah and Hamas–for holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections and also elections for the Palestinian National Council, which will help fulfil the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.
“Similarly, the truce between Israel and Hamas has eased the humanitarian situation in Gaza. India hopes that the temporary truce is converted into a permanent ceasefire, which can save precious human lives on both sides and create a conducive environment for talks,” the statement read.
India also welcomed the agreements for normalisation of relations between Israel and UAE and Bahrain. Tirumurti said that India has always supported peace and stability in West Asia, which is its extended neighbourhood.
On the armed conflict in Syria, India said that surging inflation, near halt in economic activities and severe sanctions, have accentuated the humanitarian crisis in the country marred by decade long conflict which has claimed over 400,000 lives, displaced 6.2 million people internally and compelled another 6.3 million people to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.
“2.5 million children have been deprived of schooling and 50 per cent of infrastructure has been destroyed. Surging inflation, near halt in economic activities and severe sanctions, have accentuated the humanitarian crisis. While we are heartened to see a return of normalcy to major parts of the country, we are also reminded of the enormous resources that would be required to provide urgent humanitarian aid, rebuild infrastructure, enable the return of the refugees and restore a normal and dignified life of all Syrians,” the statement read.
New Delhi said it is not only contributing to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria but has also consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue.
“India is not only contributing to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria but has also consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria. In that context, we remain supportive of both the Geneva and Astana processes,” it added.
The envoy stated that India remains concerned about the security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and encourages all parties to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths for early finalisation of the Joint Declaration paving the way for a peaceful political transition in Yemen.
“The recent exchange of prisoners by the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, who had been detained in connection with the conflict, is a welcome development. India hopes that the parties will take more confidence-building measures to provide the necessary impetus for the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. India also encourages all parties to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths for early finalisation of the Joint Declaration paving the way for a peaceful political transition in Yemen. India also hopes for peace and stability in Iraq with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the envoy noted.
In the aftermath of the August 4 blast that brought destruction to vast swathes of Beirut and inflicted heavy loss of lives, Tirumurti said India stood in solidarity with Lebanon.
“We sent emergency humanitarian aid of over 58 MT to Beirut. We look forward to the swift formation of a new government that can offer political stability and also tackle the grave socio-economic challenges being faced by the people of Lebanon,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN said.
“The commencement of discussions on the disputed border between Israel and Lebanon is a significant development. I am hopeful that this will provide an opportunity to resolve the longstanding issue between the two countries,” he added. (ANI)