Modi reiterates support for Palestine

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Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold hands after a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 10, 2018.

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 thanked Modi for India's support for various Palestinian projects, saying this will enhance bilateral relations and serve the Palestinian population.

India was one of the 120 UN member states that voted in favor of Palestine in the UN General Assembly resolution calling on the retract its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December.

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. On his part, Abbas acknowledged that the Indian leadership has always stood by peace in Palestine.

India's support for Palestine is "unbroken and unwavering".

Noting that he had earlier visited the mausoleum of Yasser Arafat, Modi hailed him as "one of the greatest leaders in history".

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The prime minister said India was aiding the construction of an Institute of Diplomacy in Palestine, and doubling the exchange of students. Both sides signed agreements worth around USD50 million that includes setting up of a USD30 million super specialty hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple to be built in United Arab Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

It was the first visit of an Indian prime minister to Ramallah in 30 years.

Abbas said "we count on India's role, as a world power with significant weight and status to contribute to achieving just and aspired peace in our region, due to its impact on world security and stability".

Abbas said, "We have never rejected negotiations; we have been and are still ready for negotiations", adding that forming a multilateral global mechanism of many countries is the best way to sponsor negotiations. This time Modi skipped in a clear message that is de-hyphenating its ties with and Palestine.

European leaders have criticized Trump's dramatic policy shift on Jerusalem, but appear unwilling to confront Washington over its handling of more than two decades of failed efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian partition deal.