Palestinian leader to visit India

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath will visit India at the end of this month ahead of a trip by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

    Shaath would visit Delhi ahead of the Israeli prime minister

    "Yes, a visit by the Palestinian foreign minister is on the cards," Palestinian ambassador to India, Usama Musa, said on Sunday.

    "It will be towards the end of this month."

    The confirmation came amid media reports that India had invited Shaat to strike a balance between New Delhi's past support to the Palestinian cause and its current bonhomie with Israel.

    Sharon touches down in New Delhi on 9 September for a three-day visit. 

    Defence co-operation is likely to be high on the agenda in his talks with Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee.

    The two premiers would also discuss the "war on terrorism" and the situations in the Middle East and Iraq.

    The visit could see negotiations on major defence deals, including Israel's proposed billion-dollar sale of the Phalcon long-range radar warning and control system.

    India is also looking at obtaining the Arrow anti-ballistic missile defence system. 

    Despite recognizing Israel soon after its creation in 1948, India established diplomatic relations only in 1992. India for decades had lent support to Yasir Arafat.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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