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UAE to welcome India's Modi ahead of World Government Summit

11 February 2018

This is Modi's second visit to the UAE, home to over three million expatriate Indians, after his visit in 2015, which was the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 34 years.

In a special recognition of the PM Modi's contribution to relations between India and Palestine, President Abbas conferred the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine on him after the conclusion of the bilateral meeting.

Governor Heptulla said it was a historic and momentous occasion as Prime Minister visited Palestine to be honoured with the "Grand Collar", Palestine's highest order given to foreign dignitaries.

Abbas has sought worldwide support for replacing the United States as sole Mideast mediator after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The state-run Oman News Agency (ONA) announced the visit which comes " In the framework of close cooperation between the Sultanate and the friendly Republic of India", it said in a statement.

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"I have assured President Abbas that India is committed to the Palestinian people's interests", he said.

Modi made his first ever visit to Israel in July past year, and Israeli Prime Minister paid back the visit last month.

After bilateral talks, the two sides signed six agreements worth around $50 million, including one for setting up a $30 million super speciality hospital in Beit Sahur.

The Prime Minister reached Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Ambassador Navdeep Suri also spoke of the soon to be signed an Agreement on Financial Intelligence to prevent money laundering.

Abbas stressed that Palestinians have "never rejected negotiations any day; we were and still are ready for it, and believe that forming a multilateral mechanism of several states is the best approach to overlook those negotiations".

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Even as Modi dramatically tightens India's ties with Israel, New Delhi has continued its longstanding support of the Palestinians in worldwide forums. The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as their future capital.

But on this visit to Ramallah, Modi appeared eager to show that had not affected New Delhi's traditional support for the Palestinian cause. India recently voted for a resolution that criticised US's decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Friendship between India and Palestine has stood the test of time".

"We count on India's role as an global force of great prestige and weight", Abbas said, noting "its rising power at the strategic and economic levels" that could "contribute to the achievement of a just peace in our region".

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UAE to welcome India's Modi ahead of World Government Summit