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Mahmoud Abbas resigns from PLO leadership position

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Ramallaha:  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that he resigned as the chairman of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) executive committee to reactivate the organisation. Abbas and nine PLO executive committee members resigned on Saturday and called for an emergency meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament in exile, to convene and elect new PLO members, Xinhua reported. According to the Palestinian law, the PNC has to convene within 30 working days in case more than one third of the PLO executive committee’s 18 members resign.

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Abbas told reporters that the executive committee is the government of the state of Palestine, and that it represents the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the Diaspora. “We are passing through hard circumstances and what we need is to reactivate the PLO executive committee; therefore I resigned together with nine other members,” Abbas said, adding that within one month, the PNC should convene and a new PLO executive committee has to be elected.
The Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, slammed on Sunday the resignations of Abbas and nine other members. Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zhuri, said that the resignation “is a unilateral call for holding the Palestinian National Council. it is a retreat on reconciliation. “The call to convene the PNC to elect new executive committee shows a total ignorance, unilateralism and an absence to real intentions for achieving a real internal reconciliation,” he said.

(IANS)

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India-Palestine aim to bolster economic ties

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Sushma Swaraj

Palestine: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here on Sunday that India was working towards closer political interaction with Palestine. It also intends for deeper economic engagement with them.

“We have also started to put in motion the framework suggested by our president for the future of our partnership during his visit,” she said referring to President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Palestine in October last year.

“Accordingly, we are working for closer political interaction and deeper economic engagement with Palestine,” she said while inaugurating the India-Palestine Digital Learning and Innovation Centre at the campus of the Al Quds University here. The centre is part of India’s capacity-building efforts in Palestine.

“We are also looking at ways and means to further increase academic collaboration between India and Palestine,” the minister said.

Elated at the centre’s inauguration, she said this was yet “another example of India’s commitment to helping its brothers and sisters in Palestine”.

Sushma Swaraj, who held bilateral talks with her Palestinian counterpart Riyad Al Maliki and called on President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the day, said her talks with the two leaders were “fruitful”.

“I am coming here after fruitful discussions with President Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad Al Malki on a wide range of bilateral, multilateral and regional issues,” she said.

“In my meetings, I was happy to see that we have shared views on issues and there is great warmth in our friendship.

“We also discussed India’s capacity building assistance to the people of Palestine of which this Center is a shining example.”

Sushma Swaraj mentioned this was her first visit abroad in 2016 and Palestine her first destination.

“This in itself reflects the importance Palestine holds for India.”

She said the fact that her visit was taking place shortly after President Mukherjee’s visit “also reflects our keen interest in further deepening the very rich and historic relationship that we have with Palestine”.

“India’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its principled support to the Palestinian cause is rooted in our own freedom struggle,” she said.

According to the minister, India’s approach to Palestine has crystallised into a policy with three core dimensions — solidarity with the Palestinian people; support to the Palestinian cause; and support to Palestine’s nation-building and capacity-building efforts.

“The entire Indian political leadership remains steadfastly committed to these policies,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj said India’s strengths in IT and IT-enabled services could immensely benefit the Palestinian economy and society.

“We are ready to assist Palestine in IT, as well as other sectors, as much as we can,” she said adding that India would build another centre for excellence in ICT and innovation in Gaza city.

“We are also developing a techno-park in Ramallah. President Abbas views the techno-park as a transformative project,” she said.

She said India’s empathy with the Palestinian cause and the friendship with the Palestinian people remained undiluted.

“This is an integral part of our foreign policy,” she said.

“We will also continue to support the developmental aspirations of the Palestinian people by all possible mean at our disposal.”

Earlier on Sunday, apart from her meetings with Al Maliki and Abbas, who hosted a lunch in her honour, she paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his bust, which is placed at the Garden of Nations here.

She also paid tributes at the mausoleum of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat here.

Sushma Swaraj, who landed in Tel Aviv late on Saturday, reached Ramallah, the administrative capital of Palestine, on Sunday morning.

Later in the day, she proceeded to Israel where she will meet the top Israeli leadership. (IANS)