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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Abbas looks for India's support
Mahmoud Abbas in talks with Manmohan Singh
Mr Abbas met the Indian prime minister in Delhi
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders in the Indian capital Delhi.

Mr Abbas is in India as part of an Asian tour which has already taken him to Japan, China and Pakistan.

On Thursday, he asked Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to use his close ties with the West to help to resolve the Middle East conflict.

It is Mr Abbas' first tour of the region since his election in January.

An Indian spokesman said that Delhi had extended consistent and unwavering support to the Palestinian cause.

"India has supported the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to a state and the imperative need for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region," foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

Mr Abbas also met the president of the governing Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, and is due to meet Indian President Abdul Kalam.

India has supported the Palestinian cause but in recent years has also drawn close to Israel, with which it shares strong economic and defence ties.

'Political weight'

During a brief visit to Islamabad on Thursday, Mr Abbas was received by President Pervez Musharraf, nearly the whole cabinet and the chiefs of all three armed forces.

The BBC Islamabad correspondent said it was Pakistan's way of showing support for an independent Palestinian state.

Speaking to Pakistani journalists, Mr Abbas said Islamabad "enjoys greater political weight amongst the international leadership".

"We hope that President Musharraf will put his political weight behind efforts for a just resolution of the lingering dispute," the Associated Press of Pakistan news agency quoted him as saying.

Mr Musharraf said Pakistan was a loyal ally of the Palestinian people.

"Palestinians are our brothers. We will always be with our brothers in the resolution of the Palestinian dispute," he said.




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