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Spain poised to announce Palestininian state recognition date

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Spanish public radio last week that Spain, Ireland and Slovenia planned to symbolically recognise a Palestinian state on May 21

Screenshot 2024 05 18 083356MADRID: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he will on Wednesday announce the date on which Madrid will recognise a Palestinian state along with several EU partners.

“We are in the process of coordinating with other countries so that we can make a joint declaration,” Sanchez said Friday in an interview with private Spanish television station La Sexta when asked if this step would be taken Tuesday as announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“I think on the 22nd of May…I shall be able to clarify before parliament the date on which Spain will recognise the Palestinian state,” he added.

Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta, had agreed to take their first steps towards recognition of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

Borrell told Spanish public radio last week that Spain, Ireland and Slovenia planned to symbolically recognise a Palestinian state on May 21, saying he had been given this date by Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said Tuesday that Dublin was certain to recognise Palestinian statehood by the end of the month but the “specific date is still fluid”.

Israel has said plans for Palestinian recognition constitute a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the Gaza conflict, which began on October 7 when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel.

The unprecedented attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a blistering retaliatory offensive that has killed more than 35,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

For decades, the formal recognition of a Palestinian state has been seen as the endgame of a peace process between Palestinians and their Israeli neighbours.

The United States and most Western European nations have said they are willing to one day recognise Palestinian statehood, but not before agreement on thorny issues like the status of Jerusalem and final borders are agreed.

But after Hamas’ October 7 attacks and Israel’s searing response during months of attacks on Gaza, diplomats are reconsidering once-contentious ideas.

In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in western Europe to recognise a Palestinian state.

A state of Palestine had earlier been recognised by six other European countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

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