Spain, Ireland and Norway ready to recognise Palestinian statehood

Published April 13, 2024
Ireland’s Prime Minister Simon Harris (L) and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attend a joint press conference after their meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin on April 12, 2024.—AFP
Ireland’s Prime Minister Simon Harris (L) and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attend a joint press conference after their meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin on April 12, 2024.—AFP

DUBLIN: Ireland and Spain are getting “much closer” to recognising a Palestinian state, new Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said on Friday as he met Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez.

The comments, following talks in Dublin, came hours after Norway announced during a visit by Sanchez that it too was ready to recognise a Palestinian state.

The Spanish leader is currently on a European tour, including a stop in Poland, aimed at drumming up support for the move, according to a Spanish government spokesperson.

Harris became Ireland’s youngest-ever prime minister just three days ago after predecessor Leo Varadkar abruptly quit last month.

Ireland has repeatedly signalled its intention to recognise a Palestinian state and its new leader appears eager to make good on the pledge.

“Let me this evening say our assessment is that that point is coming much closer and we would like to move together in doing so,” Harris said at a joint press conference with Sanchez.

“When we move forward, we would like to do so with as many others as possible to lend weight to the decision and to send the strongest message,” Harris added.

“The people of Palestine have long sought the dignity of their own country and sovereignty, a home that like Ireland and Spain can take its place amongst the nations of the earth.”

Sanchez added that willing countries would make their declarations “when the conditions are appropriate” and that they would support the new Palestinian state becoming “a full member of the United Nations”.

Earlier, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store echoed the sentiment that such a decision would need to be taken in close coordination with “like-minded countries”.

“Norway stands ready to recognise the state of Palestine,” Store told a joint press conference with Sanchez.

“We have not set a firm timetable,” he added.

In November, Norway’s parliament adopted a government proposal for the country to be prepared to recognise an independent Palestinian state.

Norway also hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at the beginning of the 1990s, which led to the Oslo Accords.

On March 22, Spain issued a statement with Ireland, Malta and Slovenia on the sidelines of an EU leaders summit, saying they were “ready to recognise Palestine” in a move that would happen when “the circumstances are right”.

Last week, Sanchez told reporters travelling with him on his Middle East tour that he hoped it would happen by the end of June.

Store on Friday said that he welcomed Sanchez’s initiative to consult among countries to “strengthen coordination”.

“We will intensify that coordination in the weeks to come,” Store said.

The Spanish leader has repeatedly angered Israel with his outspoken comments, while Harris has already drawn a rebuke from the Israeli government this week.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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