ISLAMABAD: President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas was accorded a red carpet welcome on Monday on his arrival here on a three-day official visit.
Mr Abbas, accompanied by a 17-member delegation, including five ministers, was warmly received by President Mamnoon Hussain at the Nur Khan Airbase. Two children attired in traditional dresses presented a bouquet to him.
On the occasion, the two leaders exchanged pleasantries.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch and ambassadors of various Muslim countries were also present to greet the dignitary.
President Hussain told the visiting leader that Pakistani people kept the Palestinians close to their hearts and reiterated that Pakistan would always raise the Palestine issue at all forums.
The president said Pakistan condemned the atrocities committed by the Israeli forces against Palestinians.
President Abbas welcomed the sentiments and said he considered Pakistan as his second home.
It is the third visit by President Abbas to Pakistan. He has previously been to the country in 2005 and 2013.
During the visit, he will meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, followed by delegation-level talks.
Subsequently, the two leaders will jointly inaugurate the newly constructed Palestine Embassy Complex in the Diplomatic Enclave. The government gifted land in 1992 for the purpose and in 2013 also contributed towards its construction.
Mr Abbas and his delegation will meet President Hussain, followed by a state banquet in his honour.
Bilateral political matters as well as other issues of common interest will be discussed by the two heads of state.
The Foreign Office said in a statement that Pakistan consistently supported the creation of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, with pre-1967 borders and Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital. Pakistan had also extended support at all international forums to the Palestinians’ struggle for their independent homeland, it added.
Published in Dawn January 31st, 2017
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