Jan. 13, 2015 – Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo has arrived in Gaza as part of a Middle East tour that also saw him visit Jordan, a fellow non-permanent Security Council member.
Garcia-Margallo arrived in Gaza from the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing after visits to Amman and Ramallah. He was to be accompanied by the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, according to the Spanish foreign ministry.
Spain began a two-year term on the Security Council on Jan. 1, winning one of the two available seats in the Western Europe & Others Group vacated by Australia and Luxembourg.
The Spanish parliament on Nov. 18, in a non-binding vote, called for recognizing Palestine as a state.
A Security Council resolution that calls for Israel’s withdrawal from territory it occupied since 1967 is expected to put to a vote sometime early this year, after the same measure was defeated in a 8-2-5 vote on Dec. 30 last year.
Garcia-Margallo is expected to visit areas devastated by this past summer’s war during his visit to Gaza. In Ramallah, he signed a cooperation agreement with his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad Al-Malaki, which sees Spain donate $33 million to the Palestinian Authority for 2015-17.
He will hold meetings with Israeli officials on Wednesday.
– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz