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Ireland ‘certain’ to recognise Palestinian statehood

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Ireland is certain to recognise Palestinian statehood by the end of May, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said, although he did not specify a date.

Last week, it was reported that Ireland, Spain and a number of other EU member states are considering 21 May as the date on which they will jointly recognise the State of Palestine.

“We will be recognising the State of Palestine before the end of the month,” Mr Martin told Newstalk radio.

Ireland has long said it has no objection in principle to officially recognising the Palestinian state if it could help the peace process in the Middle East.

However, Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza has given the issue new impetus.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week said Spain, Ireland and Slovenia planned to symbolically recognise a Palestinian state on May 21, with others potentially following suit.

However, Mr Martin shied away from pinpointing a date.

Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez and Taoiseach Simon Harris speaking outside Leinster House

“The specific date is still fluid because we’re still in discussions with some countries in respect of a joint recognition of a Palestinian state,” he said.

“It will become clear in the next few days as to the specific date, but it certainly will be before the end of this month.

“I will look forward to consultations today with some foreign ministers in respect of the final specific detail of this.”

Last month during a visit to Dublin by Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez, Taoiseach Simon Harris said the countries would coordinate the move together.

Mr Harris spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan earlier to exchange views on what was described as the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Mr Harris also updated the King on Ireland’s plan to recognise the State of Palestine, outlining Ireland and Spain’s ongoing efforts on Palestinian recognition along with other like-minded countries.

The King and the Taoiseach agreed that both Ireland and Jordan should stay in touch in the coming days.

King Abdullah also briefed Mr Harris on efforts to secure an end to the conflict and to create a context for peace in the region, including his contacts with other regional leaders and his discussions with US president Joe Biden in Washington last week.

This work will be a focus at the Arab Summit due to convene in Bahrain this week.

They also discussed the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and in particular the situation in Rafah.

The King underscored the need for the international community to step up efforts to increase humanitarian assistance and Mr Harris promised Ireland’s full support in advancing this work.

President Michael D Higgins yesterday condemned attacks on aid convoys providing humanitarian relief to Gaza.

Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks headed for Gaza on Monday, throwing food packages on the road in the latest in a series of incidents that have come as Israel has pledged to allow uninterrupted humanitarian supplies into the besieged enclave.

In a statement, President Higgins said that all those who support human rights, humanitarian relief, the United Nations and its charter must be appalled at the attacks which are being witnessed on aid convoys providing vital humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

The Gaza war followed Hamas’ 7 October attack against Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The Taoiseach also congratulated King Abdullah on his silver jubilee. The 25th anniversary of his accession to the throne will be formally marked on 9 June.

Additional reporting by AFP

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