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After abstaining in anti-Israel vote, Indian official on Palestine visit

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

 New Delhi: Days after India abstained in a UNHRC vote against Israel over the 2014 Gaza conflict, a top Indian official visited Palestine during which he met President Mahmoud Abbas.

Anil Wadhwa, secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry, was on a two-day official visit to Palestine on July 8-9.

On Wednesday evening, Wadhwa called on Abbas and discussed bilateral relations and issues relating to the West Asia and the stalled Middle East Peace Process.

Wadhwa also met officials in the ministry of foreign affairs of Palestine, said an official statement on Thursday.

Wadhwa will call on Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister, on Thursday.

He is also to inaugurate the Jawaharlal Nehru Secondary School for Girls in Asera Al-Shamalyeh.

The project is a gift from the government and people of India to Palestine. The school is one of the Indian projects in Palestine and a part of India’s capacity building initiatives in Palestine, said the statement.

The other ongoing projects of the Indian government in Palestine include the Jawaharlal Nehru Secondary Boys School in Abu Dees, setting up of the India-Palestine Centre for Excellence in ICT and Digital Learning and Innovation Centre in Al Quds University (with a satellite centre in Ramallah) and supply of technical and vocational education training equipment and training services to seven vocational training centres in Palestine.

On July 3, marking a significant change in stance, India had abstained on a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel over a UN report into the alleged war crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza conflict. But India stated that “there is no change in New Delhi’s long-standing position on support to the Palestinian cause”.

India has in the past voted in favour of anti-Israel resolutions in the UN.

India was among five countries that abstained in the vote against Israel.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Israel, Palestine and Jordan this year, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also to visit Israel this year.

(IANS)

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Prince William Begins His First Official Middle East visit

He is expected to visit Jerusalem's Old City and the grave of Princess Alice of Greece

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Prince William
Prince William, flickr

Prince William on Sunday began his first official royal visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories in a five-day tour of the Middle East.

He will arrive in Jordan on Sunday, meeting Jordanian Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II, reports the BBC.

The Duke of Cambridge is scheduled to meet both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

During his visit to Israel, the Duke of Cambridge will visit the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre and lay a wreath to commemorate those who died during the Second World War.

He is expected to visit Jerusalem’s Old City and the grave of Princess Alice of Greece, his great-grandmother and the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother.

The duke will visit Ramallah in the West Bank, where he will focus on issues facing refugee communities, as well as meeting Abbas.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The historic nature of this tour is of course important and the duke considers it a great privilege to be undertaking the first ever official royal tour of Israel and the Palestinian territories, and to be able to help further strengthen the friendship between Jordan and the UK.”

Prince William with his wife Kate
Prince William with his wife Kate

This is the first official tour of Israel or the Palestinian areas by a member of the Royal Family on behalf of the British government.

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have previously visited Jerusalem, but not as part of an official tour.

Also read: New Documentary on Princess Diana accounts Prince William’s and Harry’s Last Memories with their Mother

In 2016, the Prince of Wales also visited Tel Aviv for the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres. (IANS)

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