India's Modi tells Abbas he backs sovereign, independent Palestinian state

Indian prime minister due to visit Israel in July.

May 16, 2017 16:26
1 minute read.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, May 16, 2017 (Reuters)

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, May 16, 2017 (Reuters)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday discussed Middle East peace process with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought New Delhi's cooperation to end the long-standing conflict with Israel.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump vowed to do "whatever is necessary" to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians as he hosted Abbas at the White House, but gave no sign of how he could revive long-stalled negotiations.

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Abbas reasserted the goal of a Palestinian state, saying it must have east Jerusalem as its capital with the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day war.

However, most Israelis want all of Jerusalem as their capital and reject a full return to 1967 borderlines as a threat to their security.

Modi backed a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, co-existing peacefully with Israel.

Meanwhile, India and the Palestinians inked five agreements to enhance cooperation in the fields of IT (information technology) and health, among others.

Modi is due to make the first-ever visit to Israel by a sitting Indian prime minister on July 5 and 6.

Although the final itinerary has not yet been set, Modi – in a break from previous high profile visits to Israel by senior Indian officials – is not expected to visit the Palestinian Authority. In February, Modi approved a $2.5 billion missile deal with Israel.

Next week, US President Donald Trump is due to visit the region on his first foreign trip as the American leader. During his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23, Trump is expected to lay out his vision for a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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