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The Palestinian Prime Minister visits Madrid after Spain, Norway and Ireland recognized the Palestinian state

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa and leading officials from several Middle Eastern countries in Madrid on Wednesday, after Spain, Ireland and Norway recognized a Palestinian state.

The diplomatic move by the three Western European countries on Tuesday was rejected by Israel and will have little immediate impact on the crushing war in Gaza, but it was a victory for the Palestinians and could encourage other Western powers to follow suit.

Mustafa was accompanied by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and the foreign ministers of Turkey and Jordan, members of the group called the Foreign Ministerial Committee of Arab and Islamic countries for Gaza. They also met with Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares.

More than 140 countries recognize a Palestinian state – more than two-thirds of the United Nations.

Together with Spain and Ireland, there are now nine members of the 27-nation European Union that officially recognize a Palestinian state. Norway is not a member of the EU, but its foreign policy is generally aligned with the bloc.

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Slovenia, an EU member, will decide on Thursday whether to recognize a Palestinian state and forward its decision to parliament for final approval.

The move to recognize a Palestinian state has caused relations between the EU and Israel to take a nosedive. Madrid and Dublin are urging the EU to take action against Israel over the continued attacks on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The decision by Spain, Ireland and Norway comes more than seven months after an attack by Israel following the October 7 Hamas-led attack in which militants crossed the Gaza border into Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage. Israeli air and land strikes have since killed 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians.


Follow AP’s coverage of Israel and Hamas at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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