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4th Mar 2024

Spanish EU presidency wants Palestinian state in 2010

  • The separation wall snaking through parts of Palestinian territory. Spain wants to see a viable Palestinian state established in the coming year (Photo: Wikipedia)

Spain, the European Union's incoming president, is to orchestrate a push by the bloc for the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2010.

Miguel Moratinos, the country's foreign minister, said on Friday (18 December) that Madrid sees the foundation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel as one of its main priorities under its six-month helmsmanship of the 27-country bloc, which begins in January.

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"My idea, and my dream, and my engagement, is to work for having in 2010, finally, a Palestinian state that could live in peace and security with Israel," he told reporters in Brussels while outlining his country's plans for the next six months.

"We are all in the international community defending the two-state solution. Why should we wait for a Palestinian state?" he asked.

"We have Israel as a state, we want its neighbour, the Palestinians, to have the same status."

He said that its creation must come through negotiation, in effect suggesting that the EU would prefer not to be forced into a situation of choosing whether to recognise a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence.

In recent weeks, Palestinian officials have said they intend to take precisely such a move "within weeks".

Analysts believe that while Palestinian Authority figures may be bluffing that Ramallah would make such an announcement so soon, they do think that if peace talks are not restarted in a substantive way at some point, independence is very likely in the near future.

Mr Moratinos' words reflected the urgency the EU sees in dealing with the matter.

"It's not going to be easy, but I think it's needed. We need a Palestinian state, the sooner, the better, and that is going to be our objective," he said.

He added that the Spanish presidency is to step up the bloc's diplomacy under its EU watch, aiming to breath new life into the long foundered peace talks.

The foreign minister outlined Madrid's four key priorities as EU skipper: shepherding the bloc's tentative economic recovery, boosting the bloc's international influence, expanding the rights and freedoms of European citizens and overseeing implementation of the recently passed Lisbon Treaty.

Mr Moratinos said that an extra summit of EU leaders is to be mounted in February to discuss successor economic plans to the soon-to-be-expired Lisbon Strategy, widely seen as a flop.

Spain's prime minister has long made women's rights a key element of his premiership, something he wishes to build on at the European level with the creation of an EU monitoring centre for violence against women.

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