NATIONAL

PM must reiterate stand on Palestine: Surjeet

NEW DELHI SEPT. 6. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today demanded that the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, reiterate India's stand on Palestine and sought clarifications on several points ahead of the official visit of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to India next week.

In a letter to Mr. Vajpayee, the CPI(M) general secretary, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, said the Government must explain whether it continued to support the creation of an independent state of Palestine in accordance with all relevant U.N. resolutions including the 1967 and 1973 Security Council Resolutions.

Seeking complete withdrawal of the Israeli Defence Force from the occupied territories of West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem; dismantling of all Israeli settlements from the area; support to the return of all Palestinian refugees back home, were among the other issues on which the CPI (M) leader sought clarifications.

Mr. Surjeet said that the Government should state whether it continued to support the 1993 Oslo Peace Accord; recognised the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the genuine representative of the Palestinian people and whether it supported the convening of an authoritative international conference for peace in the region as proposed by the 1983 U.N. General Assembly resolution which was reaffirmed through another resolution in 1988.

"Reiteration of these positions is necessary considering the fact that the policies followed by the Israeli Government led by the Likud Party, and by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, in particular, are totally contrary to the above positions. It is time that the Government of India clarified its stand instead of trying to trying to run with the Hare and hunt with the hound," the letter said.

Through another letter, the president of the Bharati Majlis, Javed Habib, also suggested that the Government put forth the Palestinian stand and seek clarification from the visiting Israeli Prime Minister. However, he criticised the Government's move to invite Mr. Sharon and charged that it was against the traditional and established policy of the country.

"This policy may be fascinating and gratifying for a faction in the Sangh Parivar but it will be detrimental to India's image throughout the globe," he said.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party, joined issue with the CPI(M). The party leader Prakash Javadekar termed it as a "Left ritual" of opposing anything from Israel.

He said that the world scenario had changed and even Palestine has entered into an agreement with Israel. "I wonder what the Communists would do if Russia or China invited Mr. Sharon," he said adding that there was no public issue involved in it and that Mr. Sharon was representing a country recognised by the United Nations.

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