India’s Modi to visit Ramallah next month
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India’s Modi to visit Ramallah next month

After week hosting Netanyahu, February 10 trip said part of effort to 'de-hyphenate' New Delhi's relations with Israelis and Palestinians

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at an event celebrating 25 years of relations between Israel and India, at the Convention Center in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2017.(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at an event celebrating 25 years of relations between Israel and India, at the Convention Center in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2017.(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Ramallah next month for meetings with Palestinian Authority officials, Indian media said Thursday.

“The visit is confirmed though the last minute logistical details are yet to be put in place. Prime Minister Modi will be in Ramallah for a day during his visit to the Arab world,” an Indian diplomatic source told The Hindu daily.

Modi will meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials.

This will be the first such visit by an Indian prime minister to Ramallah.

The reports came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finished his fifth day of a week-long visit to India to promote ties between Jerusalem and New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on January 15, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA)

During his July visit to Israel — also the first by an Indian prime minister — Modi did not stop in the West Bank to meet with PA representatives, who were said to have been offended by the decision.

The February visit is part of an effort to “de-hyphenate” New Delhi’s relations between Israelis and Palestinians, The Times of India reported, explaining that in the past, the government had attempted to balance its relations with both sides at the same time.

“We are proud of India and India’s friendship with Palestine,” Palestinian Authority Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alhaija told The Hindu, praising New Delhi’s vote at the United Nations to condemn US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.

The vote was seen as a possible spoiler in the highly touted visit by Netanyahu to India this week, undercutting a close relationship on display with Modi and the signing of a raft of economic agreements Monday.

However, Indian Foreign Ministry economic relations secretary Vijay Gokhale downplayed the issue, saying ties between New Delhi and Jerusalem “are not determined by a single issue.”

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