PM Narendra Modi meets President Abbas Mahmoud on historic visit to Palestine

PM Narendra Modi meets President Abbas Mahmoud on historic visit to Palestine

PM Narendra Modi meets President Abbas Mahmoud on historic visit to Palestine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Yaser Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the first President of the Palestinian Authority, soon after arriving here.

The two parties signed agreements worth $41.35 million to fund multiple projects in Palestine. Some agreements are likely to be signed during Modi's three-hour visit.

Modi held discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas over a working lunch. Reports say that PM Modi was escorted by Royal Jordanian helicopters and Israeli choppers on his journey to Palestine. This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to the country and also the first visit by an Indian Prime minister in 30 years. India will also provide young Palestinians with vocational training.

Abbas said, "We have never rejected negotiations; we have been and are still ready for negotiations", adding that forming a multilateral worldwide mechanism of many countries is the best way to sponsor negotiations.

India's refusal to support United States moves to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital disappointed Israel but was consistent with its support for the Palestinians.

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

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The athletes also waved smaller unified flags, smiling in front of thousands of spectators. Kim, in a New Year's address, expressed a wish to "melt the frozen North-South relations".

The unilateral USA decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was challenged at the UN General Assembly where 128 nations, including India, voted to turn down the move as "null and void".

The Gulf is a critical region for New Delhi.

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. Mr Modi then toured the Arafat museum, which is also part of the compound, before holding talks with Mr Abbas.

It added that the honour is reserved for foreign dignitaries like kings, heads of state or government and persons of similar rank. "It will be the first traditional Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi", a BAPS official said.

Appreciating the determination shown by Palestinian youth in harsh conditions, Modi said the aspirations of young people in both the countries are the same and he wishes them an environment where there are "opportunities for progress, prosperity and self dependence available". "Unbroken and unwavering. That's why I am in Ramallah", the Prime Minister said in a brief statement to the media after having lunch with President Mahmoud Abbas.

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