Palestine president in India ahead of Modi’s Israel trip

Updated 15 May 2017

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President Mahmud Abbas (centre) walks with officials after arriving in New Dehli on Sunday.—AFP
President Mahmud Abbas (centre) walks with officials after arriving in New Dehli on Sunday.—AFP

NEW DELHI: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas landed in New Delhi late on Sunday for a three-day visit looking to strengthen ties with India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic trip to Israel.

Abbas arrived with a delegation for his third state visit to India, where he will hold key talks on bilateral, regional and international issues, including the peace process in the restive Middle East, according to India’s foreign ministry.

On Monday — day one of his visit — he will zip to an IT centre in Noida, a satellite city outside the Indian capital, aiming to forge greater cooperation in technology.

He is also slated to make an address at New Delhi’s India Islamic Cultural Centre in the evening.

On day two, he will meet with Modi, his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Minister Sus­hma Swaraj after a ceremonial welcome at the presidential palace and laying a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial.

He is scheduled to head back home on Wednesday.

Abbas and Modi will sign several deals “on cooperation in various areas”, the foreign ministry said, without providing specific details.

“India and Palestine enjoy historically close and friendly ties,” it said in a statement late Saturday, reiterating India’s “political support to the Palestinian cause”.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2017