Arab League’s Afifi: India’s Position on Supporting Palestinian Cause ‘Has not Changed’

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj smiles while addressing the India Africa business forum in New Delhi, India, October 28, 2015. REUTERS
India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj smiles while addressing the India Africa business forum in New Delhi, India, October 28, 2015. REUTERS
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Arab League’s Afifi: India’s Position on Supporting Palestinian Cause ‘Has not Changed’

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj smiles while addressing the India Africa business forum in New Delhi, India, October 28, 2015. REUTERS
India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj smiles while addressing the India Africa business forum in New Delhi, India, October 28, 2015. REUTERS

Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation between Arab states and India in political, economic and cultural fields.

In this context, AL Secretary-General Aboul Gheit stressed that the relationship between Arab countries and India two sides in the light of the great and distinguished balance of historical ties and their common interests and the priority accorded by the Arab side to this relationship.

The AL looked forward to the continuation of India's strong support for Arab issues, especially the Palestinian cause. This was the focus of the message Secretary-General Aboul Gheit recently relayed to India’s Swaraj following the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Israel and his visit to occupied Palestinian territories.

AL spokesman Mahmud Afifi pointed out that Aboul Gheit explained to Swaraj that Arabs expect the current Indian government to affirm its clear and public support for a two-state solution and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to establish its independent state.

He stressed the need to urge Israel, which enjoys good relations with India, to return to negotiations with Palestinians, and not to overlook Israel’s negative behavior in failing to abide by internationally-recognized resolutions.

Afifi noted that the Indian minister referred her country’s full understanding of the Arab position and that her country's relations with Israel would not be at the expense of its important and multidimensional relations with Arab countries, pointing out that India's position on supporting the Palestinian cause “has not changed.”



Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
TT

Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.

World leaders will join Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a summit this weekend to explore ways of ending the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, but Russia isn't invited and the event will fall short of Kyiv's aim of isolating Moscow.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan are among those set to attend the June 15-16 meeting at the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.

India, which has helped Moscow survive the shock of economic sanctions, is expected to send a delegation. Turkey and Hungary, which similarly maintain cordial ties with Russia, will be represented by their foreign ministers.

But despite months of intense Ukrainian and Swiss lobbying, some others will not be there, most notably China, a key consumer of Russian oil and supplier of goods that help Moscow maintain its manufacturing base.

"This meeting is already a result," Zelenskiy said in Berlin on Tuesday, while acknowledging the challenge of maintaining international support as the war, now well into its third year, grinds on.

Ninety-two countries and eight organizations will attend, Switzerland said. Organizers preparing a joint statement have battled to strike a balance between condemning Russia's actions and securing as many participants as possible, diplomats say.

A final draft of the summit declaration refers to Russia's "war" against Ukraine, and also underlines commitment to the UN charter and respect for international law, according to two people familiar with the document.

Participants not in agreement with the declaration have until the end of Friday to opt out, the sources said.

The Swiss foreign ministry declined to comment.

Switzerland wants the summit to pave the way for a "future peace process" in which Russia takes part - and to determine which country could take on the next phase.

'FUTILE'

The idea of a summit was originally floated after Zelenskiy presented a 10-point peace plan in late 2022.

Ulrich Schmid, a political scientist and Eastern Europe expert at the University of St. Gallen, said the summit appeared to be "a mixed bag" so far, given the show of support from some quarters and China's absence.

"Then the question arises: is peace actually doable?" Schmid added. "As long as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is in power... it will be difficult."

Putin said on Friday that Russia would cease fire and enter peace talks if Ukraine dropped its NATO ambitions and withdrew its forces from four Ukrainian regions claimed by Moscow. Kyiv has repeatedly said its territorial integrity is non-negotiable.

Russia, which sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, has described the idea of a summit to which it is not invited as "futile".

Moscow casts its "special military operation" in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West say this is nonsense and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Given such entrenched differences, the summit will focus on parts of Zelenskiy's plan broad enough to be palatable to most, if not all, participants. These include the need to guarantee food security, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation, prisoner exchanges, and the return of children, officials said.

Meanwhile, China, along with Brazil, is pushing a separate peace plan for Ukraine that calls for the participation of both warring parties. Moscow has voiced its support for Beijing's efforts to end the conflict.

Kyiv has not hidden its frustration at China's decision to skip the Swiss summit. Zelenskiy even accused Beijing of helping Russia to disrupt it, an extraordinary outburst against a global superpower with unrivalled influence over Moscow.

On the battlefield, the gathering comes at a difficult time for Ukraine. Russian troops, who control around 18% of Ukrainian territory, are advancing in the east in a war that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, left villages, towns and cities in ruins and uprooted millions.