PM Modi Arrives in UAE For His Second Visit to Gulf Country

Marie Harrington
February 11, 2018

Abbas accorded a red carpet welcome to Modi, the first Indian PM to make an official visit to Palestine. Immediately after the bilateral discussions and the signing of the MoUs, Mr. Modi left for Amman from where he took a flight to the UAE. Modi said it was an honour for India. "We know it is not easy but we need to keep trying as a lot is at stake", Modi said. President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestine was relying on India's great standing on the worldwide stage to facilitate the peace process with Israel.

Abbas again denied that he was refusing to return to the negotiating table with Israel, saying he was prepared to do so on the basis of a multilateral mechanism where several countries would sponsor the peace talks.

"We rely on India's role as an worldwide voice of great standing and weigh through its historical role in the Non-Aligned Movement and in all global forum and its increasingly growing power on the strategic and economic levels, in a way that is conducive to just and desired peace in our region", he added.

The two countries signed four agreements worth 41 million US dollars in various sectors, including education, health, media and women economic empowerment.

The agreement includes setting up of a super speciality hospital worth United States dollars 30 million in and construction of a centre for empowering women worth USD 5 million. An agreement signing ceremony is also expected at the banquet.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right hugs Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after decorating him with the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine medal, during his visit to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Saturday.

Modi expressed hope that an independent and sovereign Palestinian state would be established as soon as possible.

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The Crown Prince also said that the Prime Minister Modi's visit is a firm indication that the two leaders are moving closer towards closer joint cooperation in all fields and stated that this is an important visit that adds to the architecture of friendship and mutual cooperation.

His Majesty King Abdullah on Friday received Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Jordan as part of a regional tour.

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.

Modi became the first Indian leader in history to visit Israel in July previous year, with the two states signing deals on cybersecurity and energy.

Even as Modi dramatically tightens India's ties with Israel, New Delhi has continued its longstanding support of the Palestinians in worldwide forums.

"We are committed to taking care of the cause and well-being of Palestinian people", Mr. Modi said. Trump's decision to declare as Israel's capital angered the Palestinians, sparked protests in the and raised concern that it could further destabilise the region. Modi walked the diplomatic tightrope in that region - he did not talk of the two-state solution nor was there a joint statement. The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as their future capital.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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