Weeks after Netanyahu visit, PM Narendra Modi says India for free Palestine

Weeks after Netanyahu visit, PM Narendra Modi says India for free Palestine

Weeks after Netanyahu visit, PM Narendra Modi says India for free Palestine

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (C-L) escorts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while he lays a wreath on Yasser Arafat's grave, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on February 10, 2018.

The Palestinian president praised India's position in support of the Palestinian people and their just cause, and thanked it for funding a number of important projects which he said, will contribute to the establishment of national institutions.

Abbas stressed that Palestinians have "never rejected negotiations any day; we were and still are ready for it, and believe that forming a multilateral mechanism of several states is the best approach to overlook those negotiations". "Palestinian interests have always got our support and remained at the top in our foreign policy".

India's relationship with Israel has seen a significant development in the past few years, crowned with a recent multi-million dollars deal with Israel in military and hi-tech sectors.

After a bilateral meeting, Abbas gave the Indian leader a medal "in recognition of his wise leadership" and "efforts to promote the historic relations between the State of Palestine and the Republic of India".

India was among more than 120 countries to vote in favour of a resolution in December calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the India-Israeli partnership "a marriage made in heaven".

Abbas accorded a red carpet welcome to Modi, the first Indian PM to make an official visit to Palestine. Modi said he hoped peace could be reached "quickly, through dialogue and understanding". During his July 2017 visit to Israel, Modi did not travel to Ramallah.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the award as an honour for the people of India. India has made a decision to de-hyphenate its policies to Israel and Palestine. New Delhi voted in the UN General Assembly in December past year against US President Donald Trump's unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. PM Modi last visited the country in August 2015. "We rely on India's role as an global force of great standing through its historical role in the Non-aligned Movement and its increasing, growing power in strategic and economic levels, in a way that is conducive to a just and desired peace", said Abbas in a joint press statement. Describing the Gulf as a "valued strategic partner", Modi said he will engage with leading UAE and Arab CEOs in Dubai on the vast economic opportunities in India and to bolster business collaboration.

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