'India should play active role in Mideast peace'

Published on Mar 30, 2006 09:12 AM IST

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh thanked India for its steadfast support for Palestinian cause.

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None | ByHarinder Mishra (PTI), Gaza

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has said that India should play an active role in the Middle East peace process.

"India has been one of the leaders of the Non-aligned Movement and has a sound record in upholding democratic principles. It is well placed to play an active role in the Middle East peace process", the newly sworn-in Prime Minister said.

Haniyeh also thanked India for its steadfast support for the Palestinian cause.

"The Indian representative in Palestine recently met me here and conveyed that his government respects the will of the Palestinian people as seen through the recent elections," Haniyeh said.

"We briefed him on the current political situation", he added.

The Indian representative had also met Hamas' newly elected parliament speaker, Aziz Dwaik, and New Delhi had agreed to send its West Asia envoy to the region soon.

About negotiations with Israel, Haniyeh said he would not object to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to kickstart talks with the Jewish state.

"If the PA chairman, as the elected president, wants to jumpstart talks, we have no objection to it," Haniyeh said after the swearing-in ceremony.

"The problem is not on the Palestinian side or its agreeing to negotiations, but that Israel does not honour commitments it makes in the negotiations," he said.

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