Indian PM Modi in Abu Dhabi for two-day state visit

Posted February 11, 2018

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a joint press conference after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 10, 2018. While expressing that "support for Palestinian interests in our foreign policy has always been a priority" Modi said India hopes for Palestine to soon become a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful environment through dialogue.

The Prime Minister reached Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

On the sidelines of the World Government Summit, Prime Minister is expected to meet other world leaders.

Ties between the US and the PA hit a nadir following US President Donald Trump's December 6 declaration that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, with Abbas declaring the US could no longer serve as an "honest broker" in peace talks.

"We never have and never will reject negotiations", said Abbas. The US president is also withholding tens of millions of dollars from UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

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". Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967, but no meaningful talks on statehood through a partition deal have been held for nearly a decade.

Modi became the first Indian prime minister ever to visit Israel in July previous year, with the two states signing deals on cyber security and energy. Since the visits, bilateral investments between UAE and India have witnessed an increase.

"In this regard, we affirm our keenness to strengthen our relations in security matters and combating terrorism", the PA president said.

Prior to Prime Minister Modi, former President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Palestine in October 2015 and January 2016 respectively.

As part of the Modi government's declared objective of "de-hyphenation" of ties with PA and Israel, the PM made it a point to travel to Ramallah from Jordan and the focus of the diplomatic exchange was Indian assistance in medical care, IT training and governance. Both the countries discussed to improve the bilateral relations. "The relations between India and Palestine have stood the test of time".

PM Modi thanked Palestine for giving him this Grand Collar of the State and stated this as an honour for all Indians and a symbol of Palestine's friendship.