Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Unwavering support to Palestine: PM Narendra Modi

US President Donald Trump will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, West Bank next week during his trip to the Middle East, a senior US official said on Tuesday.

But Modi was silent on when he would take up a request Palestinian leaders have been making over the past year, urging India to use its ever-improving relations with Israel to facilitate peace talks.

"Since the days of our own freedom struggle, India has been unwavering in support of the Palestinian cause and we hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel". PM Modi also said that he and the visiting dignitary had an extensive exchange of views on West Asia and the Middle East peace process and said that the challenges in West Asia should be addressed through sustained political dialogue and peaceful means.

Bilateral ties have significantly warmed over the past decades, with Israel emerging as the leading defence supplier to India.

"We condemn terrorism in all forms and manifestations", Abbas said, striking a chord with India's posture on Pakistan-backed terrorism.

Abbas' visit is a diplomatic balancing act for India.

He empahsised that India is at the forefront of reconstruction of Palestine.

The Palestinian president is on a four-day visit to India from May 14 to 17.

He is being accompanied by a delegation comprising Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Diplomatic Advisor Majdi Khaldi, Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Aburdeineh and Palestine's Chief Judge Mahmoud Habbash.

Mentioning about the technopark jointly built by India and Palestine in Ramallah, Modi said it will a one-stop solution to IT-related services in Palestine.

The PM also hoped that large number of Palestinians will participate in worldwide day of yoga next month.

Mr. Abbas went on to thank India for contributing to capacity-building in the field of information technology in Palestinian territories. The visit by the Palestinian president after his trips to the United States and Russian Federation also enabled Delhi to get an understanding of Abbas' engagements with global powers on the Israeli-Palestine issue.

Earlier, around 70 countries had reaffirmed that only a two-state solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Reuters had reported.

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