Indian PM Modi makes historic visit to Palestine

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday asked visiting Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi to help mediate a deal with Israel as he continued to seek an alternative to the USA as the main peace broker.

In addition, a senior official told the press that Abbas will ask India's visiting prime minister to support a multi-country sponsorship that would replace the United States as the sole mediator in future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The Grand Collar is Highest order given to foreign dignitaries - Kings, Heads of State/Government and persons of similar rank.

After a bilateral meeting, Abbas gave the Indian leader a medal "in recognition of his wise leadership" and "efforts to promote the historic relations between the State of Palestine and the Republic of India".

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

India has been continuously supporting the Palestinian cause at various worldwide foram.

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

He said hopes for the return of peace in this region.

Earlier Saturday, he visited Palestine in what was the first ever prime ministerial visit from India there.

The two sides signed six agreements worth almost $50 million in areas such as health, agriculture, information technology and education as Modi sought to emphasize New Delhi's commitment as a development partner for Palestinians.

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

The announcement regarding Modi's visit to Ramallah took many by surprise given the growing bonhomie around the Indo-Israel ties.

He is the first Indian prime minister to visit both Israel and Palestine.

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". This time Modi skipped in a clear message that is de-hyphenating its ties with and Palestine.

"Here we count on India, with its status as a great power, its historical role in the non-aligned movement and in global achieve a just peace", Abbas said. India and Palestine enjoy time-tested and close friendship driven by former long-standing support to the Palestinian cause.

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