Published: Sun, February 11, 2018

Modi Given Palestine's Highest Award for Contribution to Bilateral Ties

Modi Given Palestine's Highest Award for Contribution to Bilateral Ties

President Abbas received Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Palestine, in the official ceremony at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah before starting official talks.

The visit, which came weeks after Modi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was seen as an Indian effort to balance its strengthening ties with the Jewish state.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, Abbas has been seeking worldwide support for countries from Europe and the Middle East to be included as mediators between Palestine and Israel - efforts that the U.S. has led.

"We count on India, an worldwide force on a strategic and economic level, to help Palestinians achieve a just peace in our region", Abbas said at the press conference.

The prime minister also said that India is helping in the construction of an Institute of Diplomacy in Palestine.

"I have assured President Abbas that India is committed to the Palestinian people's interests", Modi said in a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We have never rejected negotiations; we have been and are still ready for negotiations", said Abbas. During this, President Mahmood was also present with Modi. "The formation of a multilateral mechanism that stems or is produced by worldwide peace convention is the most ideal way to broker such negotiations", he said.

The US has cut funding to the Palestinians, saying it would only resume once they return to peace talks. "Palestine has always taken a top spot in our foreign policy", PM Modi added.

PM Modi arrived in Ramallah from Amman, Jordan, which he visited as part of his three-nation tour-the two other countries being, United Arab Emirates and Oman. In addition to this, he will also inaugurate the first temple built in Abu Dhabi.

In an interview with the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, he said that there will be new areas of cooperation and engagements between the two countries.

The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone at the Dubai Opera, during an Indian community event that he will be attending. It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.

The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE, the spokesperson said.

India believes in a two-state solution in which both Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully.

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