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Spain Premier Aims to Lay Groundwork for Peace Talks in Visit to Israel, Palestine

Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, hopes to lay the groundwork for a peace conference and two-state solution in his upcoming visit to Israel, Palestine and Egypt, local daily, El Pais, reported on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

On Thursday, the newly re-elected leader of Spain will travel to Israel and Palestine to meet with Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, and Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

Sanchez will travel alongside his Belgian counterpart, Alexander De Croo. Spain currently holds the rotating leadership of the EU Council. In January, that position will be handed over to Belgium.

On Friday, the two leaders are set to travel to Egypt to meet with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Abu Ghaith.

During the meetings, Sanchez intends to advocate for a peace conference – an initiative for which he got approval at the EU level.

In 1991, Spain hosted the significant Madrid Conference as an attempt to revive the Israel-Palestine peace process. The conference was followed by bilateral negotiations and meetings.

Before being re-elected, Sanchez vowed to make recognising the State of Palestine a key priority for Spain and the EU. However, diplomatic sources told El Pais that Spain’s recognition will not be immediate or unilateral.

The Spanish Premier also advocates for a two-state solution.

This will be the first time Sanchez visits Israel since the Israel-Palestine conflict escalated in October, making him one of the last European leaders to embark on a trip.

Besides the fact that Sanchez was only an acting prime minister up to last week, Spain has also been one of the most critical voices regarding the Israeli siege and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

After some of Spain’s far-left ministers used terms like genocide to describe the situation and called for an end to a diplomatic relationship with Israel, the Israeli Embassy accused the ministers of being aligned with terrorism.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry snapped back, accusing the Israeli Embassy of misrepresenting their views and reminding the ambassador that Spain is an open democracy where representatives can speak their minds.

Sanchez has also long advocated for a humanitarian ceasefire, and a four-day pause in fighting is set to start on the day of his visit as Israel and Hamas, besides the humanitarian pause, agreed to the release of some hostages and prisoners.

Source : MEMO