Palestinian President seeks India’s role in peace process as Modi visits Palestine

Vastavam web: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Mahmoud Abbas on a historic visit to Palestine during which the Palestinian President sought India’s support for a multi-country mechanism to achieve a “just and desired peace” with Israel in accordance with the two-state solution.President Abbas accorded a red carpet welcome to Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Palestine, in an official ceremony at the presidential compound, also known as Muqata’a, in Ramallah – the Palestinian seat of government.At a joint press statement with Modi, President Abbas acknowledged that the Indian leadership has always stood by peace in Palestine.

Abbas said he had “fruitfull and constructive” talks with Prime Minister Modi and he updated the Indian leader on the overall developing situation in Palestine and in the region.He said Palestine is ready to engage in negotiations to achieve freedom and independence in accordance with the two- state solution along the lines of 1967 and internationally legitimate resolutions so that both Palestine and Israel can co-exist in peace and security, provided that East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine.The two-state solution envisions independent Israeli and Palestinian states coexisting side by side peacefully. The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as their future capital.

Prime Minister Modi assured President Abbas that India is committed to the Palestinian people’s interests.”Friendship between India and Palestine has stood the test of time. The people of Palestine have shown remarkable courage in the face of several challenges. India will always support Palestine s development journey,” Modi said, adding that India is hopeful of peace and stability in the region.Prime Minister Modi said India hopes for Palestine to soon become a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful environment through dialogue.Though India has shied away from becoming a party in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian leader on several occasions has stressed on a possible role for New Delhi in the Middle East peace process.

India believes in a two-state solution in which both Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully.Modi had hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month and the two leaders had vowed to further strengthen the friendship between Israel and India.His visit to Palestine comes amid heightened tensions in the region after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.During his maiden visit to Israel last year, Modi did not travel to Ramallah. His standalone visit to Israel had led to many analysts questioning the future of the Indo-Palestine ties. This time Modi skipped Israel in a clear message that India is de-hyphenating its ties with Israel and Palestine.

President Abbas also conferred the ‘Grand Collar of the State of Palestine’ on Prime Minister Modi, recognising his key contribution to promote ties between India and Palestine.The Grand Collar is Highest order given to foreign dignitaries – Kings, Heads of State/Government and persons of similar rank.Archbishop of Catholic Church, Poulos Marcuzzo, and religious leaders of the Al-Aqsa mosque were also at the Muqata’a to greet Modi.Modi flew in a Jordanian army helicopter straight from Amman to Ramallah, where he was received by his Palestinian counterpart Rami Hamdallah. Prime Minister Modi’s chopper was escorted by choppers from Israel Air Force.Soon after his arrival, Prime Minister Modi visited the Mausoleum of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah and laid a wreath at the grave of the iconic Palestinian leader. He was accompanied by his Palestinian counterpart Hamdallah.