PRESS RELEASE 214
Minister for Foreign Affairs visits Israel and Palestine
10/12/2020

The visit by Minister González Laya to Israel and Palestine on 9 and 10 December concludes her trip round nine countries in the Southern Neighbourhood of the European Union.
 
She was given an audience in Israel by the country’s President, Reuven Rivlin, who became only the second President of Israel to make a State visit to Spain in November 2017.

After visiting the Holocaust Commemoration Memorial, which recognises four Spanish diplomates as Righteous among the Nations, the minister held consultations with her Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, with whom she agreed to step up bilateral political relations through more trips and visits. They welcomed the vitality on technological cooperation and trade exchanges, which have led to Spain doubling its exports in the last decade.

After reiterating her congratulations on the normalisation of Israel’s relations with the UAE, Bahrein and Sudan, the minister encouraged her counterpart to relaunch negotiations with its Palestinian neighbours to conclude the process that began at the Madrid Conference 30 years ago next year.
 
The Minister for International Cooperation, Ofir Akunis, informed her of the state of regional impact projects that Israel seeks to promote, in which foreign companies can take part.

The minister spoke by phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with whom she addressed other issues, including the way to develop relations with the EU – Israel’s main trading partner and partner in research and development.

During her stay, the minister took part in the launch of the Ladino Academy and held a meeting with the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Middle East Peace Process, Nicolai Mladenov.
 
Her visit to Palestine began with an audience with President Abbas, whom she encouraged to resume negotiations with the Israelis to bring a long conflict to an end through an agreement that allows Israel and Palestine to live in peace within safe borders. President Abbas remarked on the outlook for Intra-Palestinian reconciliation and the holding of elections.
 
The minister was also received by Prime Minister Stayeh and held consultations with her counterpart – Minister Malki – with whom she agreed to hold a high-level meeting in the near future, which Palestine has now held with several European countries since one was first held with Spain in 2010. They also reviewed Spanish cooperation with Palestine, which is a priority. The minister announced an extraordinary investment of 5 million euros to the UN agency that caters for millions of Palestinian refugees – the UNRWA – which is going through a financial crisis. This contribution is in addition to the 7.5 million euros that Spain has already contributed in 2020. The minister also announced her intention to include vaccines against COVID-19 for the Palestinian people as part of Spain’s international solidarity projects.

 

 

-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-

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