Taoiseach and Spanish Prime Minister commit to work together to have Palestine recognised as a state

Taoiseach and Spanish Prime Minister commit to work together to have Palestine recognised as a state

TAOISEACH Simon Harris and Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez have committed to continue to push for the recognition of Palestine as a state to bring a solution to the turmoil in Gaza.

The premiers have discussed the “dire situation” in the Middle East this week and agreed to keep working together to push for an end to the conflict.

A phone call, which took place yesterday morning, is the third conversation the pair have had in recent weeks on the topic of the Middle East, where the conflict in Gaza continues and Israel is reportedly planning a military operation in the Palestinian city of Rafah.

“I spoke by phone with Prime Minister Sánchez, our third time speaking in the last number of weeks,” the Taoiseach said.

“We discussed the dire situation in the Middle East and particularly in Gaza and agreed to continue working together to push for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional and immediate release of all remaining hostages and for a surge in humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza,” he explained.

“Prime Minister Sánchez and I shared our deep concern about reports that Israel has ordered an evacuation of civilians from parts of Rafah in preparation of a military operation,” he added.

“I reiterate my call on Israel not to undertake a full-scale military operation in Rafah.

"The international community has made it very clear that an Israeli military operation in Rafah will inevitably lead to disastrous humanitarian consequences and the deaths of large numbers of innocent civilians.

"The protection of civilians is an obligation under international humanitarian law.”

Ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas forces have been underway over the weekend, however reports this claim Israeli tanks have entered Rafah this morning.

The Taosieach and Prime Minister Sánchez are among a number of international leaders who have called on the Israeli government not to go ahead with the attack on the city this week.

Both leaders have also been working together to have Palestine formally recognised as a state in order to bring a “two-state solution” to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, Mr Harris confirmed.

“I also discussed with Prime Minister Sánchez our ongoing work together on recognising the State of Palestine,” he said.

“We reaffirmed the wish for both Spain and Ireland to recognise Palestine, agreeing that formal recognition is an important part of acknowledging that a two-state solution is the only way to bring about peace and stability in the region, with a State of Palestine and the State of Israel living side-by-side in peace and security.

“Prime Sánchez and I are both eager to make progress on this very shortly and we agreed to remain in close contact.

“We are coordinating efforts with other European states to recognise a Palestinian state alongside likeminded countries.

“This will be done in a way that can have the most positive impact on the situation on the ground.”

He added: “We also took stock of the work underway in New York on a resolution on Palestine’s membership of the UN. Ireland fully supports Palestinian membership of the UN.

"The UN General Assembly will consider this issue on May 10 and we expect a large majority of UN member to take a similar position.”