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Spain set to lobby EU partners to recognize Palestinian state

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain will meet several of his European Union counterparts over the next week in an attempt to garner support for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

The government spokesperson Pilar Alegria told reporters on Tuesday that Sanchez’s agenda includes meetings with the prime ministers of Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia and Belgium.

The meetings will also be focusing on the EU’s position regarding the brutal Israeli campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“We want to stop the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and help kickstart a political peace process leading to the realization of the two-state solution as early as possible,” Alegria said.

Sanchez believes there would soon be a “critical mass” within the EU to push several members to adopt the same position with respect to the Palestinian statehood.

Also on Tuesday, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Canberra would consider recognition of a Palestinian state.

The developments mark a shift in policy as the international community looks for an end to the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.

At least 140 countries have recognized a Palestinian state. They include members of the 22-nation Arab Group at the United Nations, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the 120-member Nonaligned Movement.

The monthly UN Security Council meeting on April 18 will consider the issue of Palestine’s full membership.

The United States has vowed to block a new attempt by the Palestinians for full membership in the United Nations.

After the initial bid for full UN membership was rejected in 2011, the Palestinians went to the 193-member UN General Assembly, where there are no vetoes. They succeeded by more than a two-thirds majority in having their status raised from a UN observer to a non-member observer state in November 2012.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long ruled out the idea of the Palestinian statehood.

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