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BRUSSELS: Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives to attend a European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 21, 2024. - AFP
BRUSSELS: Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives to attend a European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 21, 2024. - AFP
Sanchez wants Spain to recognize Palestine this year: reports

MADRID: Spain's left-wing government is determined for parliament to recognize Palestine 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 favor 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 recognize 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 recognized Israel to do so".

Sanchez has repeatedly said the only solution to the Middle East conflict is the recognition of two states. Benjamin Netanyahu, whose governing coalition includes extreme right and ultra-Orthodox parties, has long ruled out Palestinian statehood. – AFP

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