Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid a wreath at the mausoleum of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in his first engagement on a historic visit to Palestine.
Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Palestine, flew in a Jordanian army helicopter straight from Amman to Ramallah, where he was received by his Palestinian counterpart Rami Hamdallah.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by Hamdallah, visited the Mausoleum of Yasser Arafat. The mausoleum was unveiled on November 10, 2007 and is located adjacent to the Palestinian. Presidential compound, also known as Muqata'a here.
"Abu Ammar was one of the greatest world leaders. His contribution to Palestine is historical. He was a good friend of India. I paid tributes to him in Ramallah," Modi tweeted, referring to Arafat.
After paying homage to Arafat, the prime minister took a short tour accompanied by Hamdallah of the Arafat Museum located adjacent to the mausoleum.
The length of each of the mausoleum's walls is 11 meters forming a cube, signifying the date of Arafat's death on the 11th day of the 11th month.
Adjacent to the Arafat mausoleum is a minaret which is 30 meters high. At the top of the minaret is a laser system that projects a beam of light in the direction of Jerusalem.
During a joint press statement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a meeting with him, Modi said Arafat's contribution to the Palestinian struggle is unshakable.
"He was a special friend of India. It was an unforgettable moment for me to visit a museum dedicated to him. I once again pay tribute to Abu Ammar," Modi said.
Arafat, born in 1929 in Cairo, served as Palestine's president for eight years until his death on November 11, 2004. In 1990, the Palestine Liberation Organisation chief negotiated with Israelis and in 1993 they came up with Oslo Accords that gave Palestinians self rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In 1994, Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo.