ISLAMABAD: President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas on Monday was accorded a red carpet welcome on his arrival here on a three-day official visit.
President Abbas, accompanied by a 17-member delegation including five ministers, was warmly received by President Mamnoon Hussain at the Nur Khan Airbase.
Two children attired in traditional dresses presented a bouquet to the Palestinian president.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch and ambassadors of different Islamic countries were also present at the airbase to greet the dignitary. It is the third visit by Mahmoud Abbas to Pakistan. He has previously been to Pakistan in 2005 and 2013.
During the visit, the Palestinian president will have one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, followed by delegation-level talks.
Subsequently, the two leaders will jointly inaugurate the newly constructed Palestine Embassy Complex in the Diplomatic Enclave. The Government of Pakistan had gifted a piece of land in 1992 for the purpose. Subsequently, in 2013 Pakistan also contributed towards its construction.
President Mahmoud Abbas and his delegation will meet President Mamnoon Hussain, followed by a state banquet in his honour.
Bilateral political matters as well as other issues of common interest will be discussed between the two heads of state.
The Foreign Office said in a statement that relations between Pakistan and Palestine had traditionally been strong.
Pakistan consistently supported the creation of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, with pre-1967 borders and al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital.
Pakistan had also extended support to the Palestinian struggle for their independent homeland, at all international forums, it added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2017.