Modi in Palestine: It’s a political visit, says envoy

Updated - February 11, 2018 12:10 am IST

Published - February 11, 2018 12:09 am IST - Ramallah

Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alhaija.

Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alhaija.

Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alhaija said on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ramallah was a “political visit and not a humanitarian one as many have described it”.

“We are very happy when Indian leaders visit Palestine. And this is a very special occasion. This is historic. This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Palestine,” he told The Hindu . “The message India is sending is that ‘we won’t treat Palestine as a tail of Israel. We will treat you as a separate entity.’ That’s why the Prime Minister is here.”

Mr. Modi was offered a warm welcome in the Palestinian Presidential Secretariat in Ramallah.

Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, was among them. Before the meeting, he said he was looking forward to “pay his honour” to Prime Minister Modi. “I will ask him to contribute to peace in the region.”

Nasser Hussain Ansari, who runs the Indian Hospice in Jerusalem, said this “is a great moment”. Mr. Ansari, whose grandparents migrated to Jerusalem in the 1920s, was invited by President Abbas to meet Mr. Modi. “India can do a lot of good things in the region,” he said.

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