Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated visit to Israel, Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas has played the gift diplomacy. Abbas has presented a mosaic and an artwork to PM Modi with his name written in Arabic, according to Indian Express report. “Invaluable gift of a warm friendhip,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay had tweeted. PM Modi’s proposed visit to Israel assumes significance as it would be the first such tour by an Indian Premier. But this gift diplomacy also signals that Palestine wants a plausible closer ties with India. Notably, Abbas is currently visiting India and had met the Prime Minister in New Delhi yesterday.
PM Modi yesterday had assured Abbas of India’s ‘unwavering support’ to the Palestinian cause. The Prime Minister also said that India hopes to see a sovereign, united and an independent Palestine, co- existing peacefully with Israel. The Prime Minister also expressed hope for “early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution”, according to PTI report.
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Earlier, around 70 countries had reaffirmed that only a two-state solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Reuters had reported.
Abbas had said Palestine appreciates the solidarity India extends to its cause. “India is a friend. It has influence at the international level. India can play an important role (in the resolving Palestine Israel crisis,” Abbas said. He also had said India is “ahead of all friendly countries” in helping Palestine. The President said that he recently had meetings with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed possibilities of an early resolution to the long-pending dispute with a two-state solution.
The Palestine President also condemned terrorism in all forms.
The two sides signed agreements for visa exemptions for diplomatic passport holders, in the fields of agriculture cooperation, IT and electronics, health sector and cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports, according to PTI report.
In October 2015, India had announced grant of USD 12 million for setting up the park with payment of USD 3 million each on half-yearly basis for 2 years. The Palestinian side has made the land available for the project.