Modi to visit Palestine, UAE, Oman from Feb 9-12

Modi to visit Palestine, UAE, Oman from Feb 9-12

Modi to visit Palestine, UAE, Oman from Feb 9-12

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Palestine, the United Arab Emirates and Oman from February 9 to 12, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Saturday.

Modi is going to be the first prime  minister of India to visit Palestine. He will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Modi's visit to Palestine comes less than a month after he hosted his counterpart from Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on his maiden tour to India from January 14 to 19.

India last month voted at the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution asking the United States to withdraw President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

New Delhi, itself, however, stopped seeking East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine after December 2016.

Modi's visit to Israel in July was the first by a prime minister of India to the Jewish state and it de-linked New Delhi's relations with Israel and Palestine.

Indian dignitaries visiting Israel in the past had always made it a point to visit Palestine, too.

India was the first non-Arab country to recognise Palestine way back in 1988. But New Delhi's growing ties with Israel after the  BJP's ascent to power in May  2014 fuelled speculation about India reviewing its position on Palestine.

The Modi government, however, made it clear that while India would continue to support the cause of Palestine, it would also seek to build stronger ties with Israel.

Modi's  upcoming visit to the UAE is his second. He will address the Sixth World Government Summit in Dubai at which India has been extended the "guest of honour" status.

The prime minister's visit to Oman is his first.

"During the visit, the prime  minister will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with their leaders, apart from participating in other events.  Modi will also meet the Indian community in UAE and Oman," said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the MEA.