Narendra Modi arrives in Palestine, to hold talks with Mahmoud Abbas

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

Ramallah-India hopes Palestine soon becomes a free country, and does so in a peaceful manner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday in Ramallah, while making a joint statement with the sovereign state's president, Mahmoud Abbas.

On the first led of his trip, Modi travelled to Ramallah, becoming the Indian prime minister to make an official visit to Palestine.

The two sides signed six agreements worth almost $50 million in areas such as health, agriculture, information technology and education as Modi sought to emphasize New Delhi's commitment as a development partner for Palestinians. Three agreements in the education sector worth Dollars 5 million and for procurement of equipment and for the in were also signed.

Meanwhile, the UAE's iconic buildings like the the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, Adnoc bulding and the Emirates Palace were lit up in colours of India's flag ahead of Modi's visit to the country.

"I am looking forward to my discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirming our support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine", he said.

Abbas said the formation of a multi-lateral mechanism that is produced by an global peace convention is the most ideal way to broker negotiations with Israel, which is India's strategic partner and among its top arms suppliers.

Despite Modi's personal camaraderie with Netanyahu, India voted in the UN General Assembly in December a year ago against US President Donald Trump's unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday morning will witness the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.

In addition, a senior official told the press that Abbas will ask India's visiting prime minister to support a multi-country sponsorship that would replace the United States as the sole mediator in future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

While providing details on the Palestine visit B Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary in the Foreign Ministry said, "we have de-hyphenated our relations with Palestine and Israel". Kumar also tweeted a picture of Modi hugging the King. Modi will visit Oman for the first time as prime minister and will hold talks with the Sultan of Oman and other key leaders. "A warm hug between friends reflecting our relationship!"

Modi flew to Ramallah from Jordan by helicopter Saturday and laid a wreath at the grave of Abbas predecessor Yasser Arafat, located in Abbas' walled government compound.