MADRID: Spain’s left-wing government is determined for parliament to recognise Palestinian statehood by July this year, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said during a visit to Jordan, Spanish media reported on Tuesday.

“We have to think seriously about doing it this semester,” Sanchez told a group of Spanish journalists accompanying him on a tour of three Middle East countries, the media reported.

Sanchez had said on March 9 he would propose that parliament vote in favour of this recognition by the end of the current legislature, that is, by mid-2027.

Then on March 22, Spain and three other nations — Ireland, Malta and Slovenia — issued a joint statement on the sidelines of a European Union leaders’ summit in Brussels saying they were “ready to recognise Palestine” once the conditions for the setting up of a state were met.

Top-selling daily Spanish newspaper El Pais said Madrid’s recognition of Palestinian statehood could happen during the campaign for the European Parliament elections, which in Spain will be held on June 9, or “in the weeks that follow”.

The paper said Sanchez, who after Jordan will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar, wants to “try to convince Arab countries that have not yet recognised Israel to do so”.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not recognise Israel.

Sanchez has repeatedly said the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the recognition of two states, Israel and Palestine.

Since 1988, 139 out of 193 UN member states have recognised Palestinian statehood.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose governing coalition includes extreme right and ultra-Orthodox parties, has long ruled out Palestinian statehood.

According to the reports, Sanchez said he expected events to unfold in the conflict ahead of the European Parliament elections in early June and highlighted ongoing debates at the United Nations.

He said that he believed there would soon be a “critical mass” within the European Union to push several member states to adopt the same position, according to EFE.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2024

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