Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic Palestine visit, President Mahmoud Abbas said he will discuss with him India’s role in the Middle East peace process and the creation of a multilateral forum of negotiations to strike a final deal with Isarel. It is to be noted that Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine, is reaching Ramallah on Saturday amid heightened tensions in the region after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The unilateral US 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”. “We are receiving Prime Minister Modi in a historic visit that will demonstrate the strong ties and relations between the Palestinian people and the brotherly Indian people,” Abbas told PTI in an e-mail interview.
He also said that “We will discuss the recent updates with Prime Minister Modi, and the recent developments in the peace process, the bilateral relations, and the regional situations. And the possible role India can play in enhancing peace in the region, as well as discussing different economical aspects beyond the existing ties we already possess'.
Describing India as a “very respected country in the international arena”, the 82-year-old Palestinian President said that India can have a possible role in creating a multilateral forum of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis to reach a final agreement.
“We believe in the importance of a possible Indian role…to reach a final agreement based on international consensus and resolutions, in which India and other countries can be part of,” Abbas said.
“The long Indian position of supporting the two-state solution is well known. India has supported the Palestinian cause throughout the years of conflict, and we rely on the Indian support in order to reach the independence of the Palestinian State,” he added.
As Palestine works to establish an international multilateral mechanism of negotiations, the Palestinian leader stated that “India can play a role in this”. “The relations between India and Palestine are historical…This visit will culminate the historic ties between the two brotherly people, and will help in increasing and strengthening these ties that we possess,” he stressed.
The Indian Prime Minister would be skipping Israel during his forthcoming tour of Middle East in a clear message that New Delhi is de-hyphenating its ties with the Jewish state and Palestine. Modi had visited Israel last year in July in a standalone visit that had led to many analysts questioning the future of the Indo-Palestine ties.