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Harris and Sanchez meeting last month. Alamy Stock Photo

Simon Harris discusses recognising state of Palestine with Spanish leader

In a statement this morning, Harris said he had a phone call with Pedro Sanchez following discussions the pair had in Dublin and Brussels last month.

AN TAOISEACH SIMON Harris spoke to the Spanish Prime Minister this morning about plans by both countries to recognise the state of Palestine.

In a statement this morning, Harris said he had a phone call with Pedro Sanchez following discussions the pair had in Dublin and Brussels last month.

Harris said the pair discussed the war in Gaza, including the need for an immediate ceasefire, as well as plans to recognise the state of Palestine.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said in the Dáil last month that said that he will be bringing forward proposals for the Government to recognise the State of Palestine, once international discussions have concluded.

A Bill recognising Palestinian statehood passed successfully through both the Seanad and the Dáil in 2014 but the Government has yet to follow through on it, instead saying it wished to do so in coordination with other EU states.

In his statement today, Harris said both leaders discussed “our ongoing work together on recognising the State of Palestine”.

“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,” Harris said.

“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.

Harris also said the leaders discussed the war 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 urged Israel not to launch a ground offensive in the city of Rafah. The Israeli Army said today it is evacuating about 100,000 people from eastern Rafah, ahead of an expected ground assault in the southern city.

“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,” Harris said.

“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.

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