25th July 2024
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Sánchez hosts Palestinian PM and leading officials from several Middle Eastern countries

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa and leading officials from several Middle Eastern countries in Madrid on Wednesday after Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognised a Palestinian state.

The diplomatic move by the three countries on Tuesday has been slammed by Israel and will have little immediate impact on its on-going war in Gaza, but it was a victory for the Palestinians and could encourage other Western powers to follow suit.

‘On behalf of President (Mahmoud) Abbas and the government of Palestine, the people of Palestine, we warmly welcome Spain’s recognition of the state of Palestine,’ Mustafa said. ‘This recognition strengthens our resolve to continue our struggle for a just and lasting peace.’

Mustafa was joined by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation chairman Hussain Ibrahim Taha, and the foreign ministers for Turkey and Jordan, members of the group called the Foreign Ministerial Committee of Arabic and Islamic countries for Gaza. They also met with Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares.

Spain will continue working so that more European nations recognise a Palestinian state, and ‘with our Arab partners and friends to normalise relations between Arab countries and Israel’, Albares said.

‘And when the guns fall silent, when peace comes, it will be time to build a horizon of definitive peace,’ he continued.

‘Spain has a long tradition of friendship with the Arab world. Our historical, political and commercial ties, but above all our cultural and human ties, the ties between our peoples, have united us for centuries. And at this difficult time, our friendship and frank dialogue take on a special value and become a critical element in building bridges between Europe and the Arab world,’ said Albares.

Of the United Nations’ 193 member states, 145 now recognise Palestinian statehood.

With Spain and Ireland, there are now nine members of the 27-nation European Union that officially recognise a Palestinian state. Norway is not an EU member but its foreign policy is usually aligned with the bloc.

Slovenia, an EU member, passed a decree this month on recognising a Palestine state that will be sent to parliament on Thursday before a vote expected in the next few days.

The Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan thanked Ireland, Norway and Spain for recognising a Palestinian state, saying during a visit to Madrid they were ‘on the right side of history’.

‘We salute Spain, and we salute Norway, Ireland and Slovenia for doing the right thing. We urge other European partners to do the same thing,’ said Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

The move to recognise a Palestinian state has caused relations between the EU and Israel to nosedive. Madrid and Dublin are pushing for the EU to take measures against Israel for its continued attacks on southern Gaza’s city of Rafah.

The decision by Spain, Ireland and Norway comes more than seven months into an assault waged by Israel following the 7 October Hamas-led attack in which militants stormed across the Gaza border into Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage. Israel’s air and land attacks have since killed 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

ALSO READ: Israel orders Spain’s consulate in Jerusalem to not assist Palestinians.

ALSO READ: Israel recalls ambassador to Spain over Palestine statehood & threatens ‘serious consequences’.

ALSO READ: Spain, Ireland & Norway to recognise Palestinian state on 28 May.


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