It is the first project completed through IBSA funding

The IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) solidarity was on display in Ramallah, Palestine with leaders and officials from the three countries gifting a sports centre to the Palestinian Authority.

The sports centre is the first project completed through IBSA funding and two more IBSA-funded projects are in progress — rehabilitation of the ‘Al-Quds Hospital' in Gaza and construction of a ‘Centre for People with Special Needs' in Nablus.

Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, Ambassador Paulo Cordeiro de Andrade Pinto of Brazil and South Africa's Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Marius Fransman attended the inauguration ceremony and later met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

India, along with Brazil and South Africa, has consistently supported Palestine's cause. In 1975, India was the first non-Arab state to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation and five years later gave full diplomatic recognition to its office in New Delhi. In 1988, India recognised the state of Palestine.

Mr. Ahamed said the issue of Palestine has taken a decisive turn after Mr. Abbas filed an application with United Nations Secretary General demanding Palestine's full membership. He recalled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech in the U.N. General Assembly that India has been steadfast in its support for the Palestinian people's struggle for a United State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as the capital, as per the relevant U.N. resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and Quartet road map.

“I think that the time is not far when Palestinians will realise their dream to have a state of their own and an honourable member of the international community,” he added.

On reaching Palestine, Mr. Ahamed offered Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Masjid in East Jerusalem and met Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, the President of Islamic Endowment Council. Later in the day, the Minister handed over a cheque of $1 million as India's annual contribution for 2011-12 to be utilised for food for 50 school days to 76,000 students attending U.N.-funded schools in Gaza.

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