PM in UAE after visits to Jordan, Palestine

Violet Powell
February 11, 2018

Ramallah:India's improved relations with Israel could actually benefit Palestine, experts said here, underlining that the Palestinian leadership saw an opportunity in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in reviving the peace process with Israel.

Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Palestine, re-assured Abbas that "we are committed to take care of the cause and well-being of Palestinian people".

Prime Minister Modi's visit to Palestine comes a month after India hosted Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In December, India backed a United Nations resolution that opposed the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He conferred the "Grand Collar of the State of Palestine" on PM Modi in special recognition of his contribution to enhancing relations between India and Palestine.

The Indian leader said his country "hopes for peace and stability in this region". "This is also reflective of the friendship between India and Palestine".

Modi is now on his four-day Middle East tour, which includes visits to Palestine, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

In a first-ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine, PM Modi arrives in Ramallah to a rousing welcome. So then why isn't Nehru the first Indian PM to visit Palestine?

The Indian Foreign Ministry said that the goal of the "historic visit" was to express India's commitment to "deepening ties with Palestine".

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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.

The UAE government has lit its iconic buildings in Dubai from Friday night ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.

"Here we count on India, with its status as a great power, its historical role in the non-aligned movement and in worldwide achieve a just peace", Abbas said. "In both Oman and the UAE, I will meet the large Indian diasporas that have made those countries their home", Modi said.

Soon after his arrival, PM Modi visited the mausoleum of Palestininan leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah and laid a wreath at his grave.

Sitharaman declined to comment on the investments the UAE would be making in the defence sector in India this year, saying it is a commercial decision.

Late on Saturday, Modi arrived in Abu Dhabi on a two-day official visit during which he will hold talks with top leadership of the Gulf nation and witness signing of almost a dozen agreements to bolster political and economic ties.

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