Spanish envoy: Madrid still undecided on UN vote

Foreign Ministry says that Spanish FM's signaled support for Palestinian Authority at UN surprising considering good Israel-Spain ties.

By
August 22, 2011 19:43
2 minute read.
Spanish FM Trinidad Jimenez  with Abbas

Spanish FM Trinidad Jimenez with PA President Abbas 311 (R). (photo credit: Andrea Comas / Reuters)

 
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The Foreign Ministry summoned Spanish Ambassador Alvar Iranzo to a meeting in Jerusalem Monday to protest statements Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez made indicating Spain backed Palestinian moves for statehood recognition at the UN in September.

During the meeting, the ministry’s deputy directorgeneral for Europe, Naor Gilon, expressed Israel’s “surprise and disappointment” at the remarks attributed to Jimenez in an interview Sunday with the El Pais newspaper, especially considering the “excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.”

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The summoning of the Spanish foreign minister was followed by a similar protest three weeks ago made to the ambassador from Honduras when the Honduran president said his country would vote for the Palestinians at the UN.

In the El Pais interview, Jimenez was quoted as saying “There’s the feeling that now is the time to do something, to give the Palestinians the hope that a state could become reality.”

Speaking prior to the monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers on September 2, which is expected to deal with the EU’s position on this matter, Jimenez said, “We have to give them some signal, because if we don’t it could generate great frustration for the Palestinian people.”

According to Foreign Ministry officials, Iranzo said his foreign minister’s words were misrepresented, and said Spain had not yet decided how it would vote in September.



Iranzo said the vote will depend on consultations between the EU member states and the substance of the resolution the Palestinians ultimately put forward.

During the meeting with Gilon, Iranzo, according to Israeli officials, said from the Spanish perspective, any resolution needed to be balanced and include the need to renew negotiations between the sides and a consideration for Israel’s security interests.

Without those parameters, he said, Spain could not support the resolution.

Iranzo said Jimenez’s intent was to express support for the idea of Palestinian statehood, alongside Israel, but not predetermine the vote in September, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is scheduled to go to Madrid later this week and hold discussions on the matter with senior Spanish officials.

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