Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday thanked India for its support for the Palestinian cause, saying the Palestinians count on India to play a role in peacemaking because it is a world power of great stature and weight to contribute to the achievement of a just and desired peace in the region.
— Noa Landau (@noa_landau) February 10, 2018
In a joint press conference in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Abbas affirmed the Palestinian leadership’s adherence to political action and negotiations as a way to achieve national goals of freedom and independence based on the two-state solution and United Nations resolutions.
Abbas said, “We have never rejected negotiations; we have been and are still ready for negotiations,” adding that forming a multilateral international mechanism of many countries is the best way to sponsor negotiations.
I consider it an honour to be in Palestine. I bring with me the goodwill and greetings of the people of India. Here are my remarks at the joint press meet with President Abbas. https://t.co/lUWKPB9Nxe pic.twitter.com/3uUPtuh4gP
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 10, 2018
He praised India’s position in support of the Palestinian people and their just cause, and thanked it for funding a number of important projects which he said, will contribute to the establishment of national institutions.
Abbas stressed keenness to promote joint cooperation in order to strengthen security relations and ‘fight terrorism wherever it exists’.
Modi expressed hope that an independent and sovereign Palestinian state would be established as soon as possible.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) February 10, 2018
“I have assured President Abbas that India is committed to the Palestinian people’s interests,” he said.
“The relations between India and Palestine have stood the test of time.”
India was one of the earliest champions of the Palestinian cause but in recent years turned to Israel for high-tech military equipment and ‘anti-terrorism cooperation’.
Under Modi, whose nationalist party sees Israel as a natural ally against Islamist extremism, ties have flourished. Modi made the first trip to Israel by an Indian prime minister last year followed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India last month.
But Indian officials said India continued to support the Palestinian cause and that Modi’s visit is aimed at helping build up the Palestinians’ capacity in the health, information technology and education areas.
“We have de-hyphenated our relations with Palestine and Israel and now we see them both as mutually independent and exclusive and as part of this policy the Prime Minister is undertaking this visit,” B Bala Bhaskar, a joint secretary in the Indian foreign ministry, said.
(Wafa, The Independent, PC, Social Media)