Spain upgrades Palestinian mission
Spain's government said Friday it plans to upgrade the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Madrid due to the prospect of an eventual "creation and recognition of a Palestinian state."
The "General Delegation of Palestine" that has been in the Spanish capital since 1986 will henceforth be called the "Palestine diplomatic mission," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It said the head of the mission will have the status of ambassador, and will be formally accredited in a ceremony by King Juan Carlos.
Spain said the decision "reaffirms the friendship and solidarity that unites the Spanish people and the Palestinian people."
It should be viewed "in the perspective of the creation and recognition of a Palestinian state in a necessarily brief timeframe as a result of the negotiation process relaunched after the Washington summit of September 2," the statement said.
The decision was announced three days after talks in Madrid between Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad and Spain's Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero during the first Spanish-Palestinian summit.
Speaking at a joint news conference at the end of the one-day gathering on Tuesday, Zapatero said the summit was a sign of Spain's backing for the creation of a democratic and free Palestinian state based on the state of law.
Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas resumed direct negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on September 2, 20 months after he broke them off when Israel launched a devastating offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
© 2010 AFP