Indian PM vows commitment to Palestine's interests

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Indian PM vows commitment to Palestine's interests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged India's commitment to the Palestinian people's interests during a visit to the West Bank, the first by an Indian premier.

"I have once again assured President Abbas that India is bound by a promise to take care of the Palestinian people's interests," Modi said following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Saturday.

Modi also hailed India and Palestine's "historic relations" and expressed hope that Palestine will soon "become a free country in a peaceful manner."

"Palestinian interests have always got our support and remained at the top in our foreign policy," he added during a joint press conference with Abbas.

The Indian prime minister visited Palestine as part of a four-nation regional tour that has already taken him to Jordan, with the UAE and Oman his next destinations.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Modi stressed that New Delhi "hopes for peace and stability in this region," noting, "We believe a permanent solution to Palestine is possible through dialogue."

Abbas, for his part, said he had exchanged views with Modi on "bringing the political process out of the deadlock due to the continued Israeli occupation of our land and the political impasse following [US President Donald] Trump's decision on Jerusalem al-Quds and the refugees."

Last December, Trump declared that Washington was recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and planning to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The contentious decision led Abbas to formally declare that Palestinians would no longer accept the US as a mediator to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Washington is “completely biased” towards Tel Aviv.

In yet another hostile move, the Trump administration said in January that it would withhold $65 million of a $125 million aid installment to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

The Palestinian president described India as "an international force of great prestige and weight," which could "contribute to the achievement of a just peace in our region."

Modi’s visit follows his trip to Israel last July and comes less than a month after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s six-day visit to India.

India was one of the 128 countries that voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution last December that called on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the "capital" of Israel.

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