European countries need to recognise Palestinian statehood, Harris says

European Countries Need To Recognise Palestinian Statehood, Harris Says
Simon Harris said European states need 'to move ahead and recognise the state of Palestine'. Photo: Getty
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By Cillian Sherlock and Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

A number of European states need to recognise Palestinian statehood, Taoiseach Simon Harris has said.

Since being appointed Taoiseach last week, Mr Harris has worked with Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez on appealing to other European states to sign up to their plan for a joint declaration recognising Palestine.


Speaking in Brussels ahead of his first European Council meeting, Mr Harris said he would be continuing to engage with his European counterparts on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as well as the release of all hostages.

He said he believed there was also a “need for a number of European states to move ahead and recognise the state of Palestine”.

Pedro Sanchez visit to Ireland
Taoiseach Simon Harris and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA


He added: “Ultimately, if you believe in a two-state solution, I think such positive momentum could be helpful and could be important.”

Following an attack on Israel by Iran, Mr Harris said there was a need for de-escalation and restraint amid “turmoil” in the region.

He said: “We have very clearly condemned the actions of Iran. It was a large-scale and reckless attack, and we need to now see de-escalation.

“I think the European position that is emerging is quite clear, it’s one that needs to be focused on de-escalation.


“It’s one that needs to appeal to all parties to show restraint, because anything other than de-escalation and restraint results in very significant catastrophe and bloodshed for many millions of people in a region that is already unstable.”

Cadet commissioning ceremony
Tánaiste Micheál Martin speaks during the commissioning ceremony of the 99th cadet class at the Defence Forces Training Centre in Curragh, Co Kildare. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Earlier, the Tánaiste urged Israel not to respond to Iran’s attack that saw around 300 drones and missiles fired at the weekend.


There are fears it could lead to an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East as Israel prepares for a military offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza.

Speaking on Wednesday, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Micheál Martin said the threat of escalation in the Middle East “could not get more serious”.

He also urged people to remember the plight of Gazans.


“Ireland’s role, along with fellow members of the European Union, is to appeal for de-escalation of tensions and conflict between Israel and Iran,” he said, at a commissioning ceremony at The Curragh in Co Kildare.

“The implications for the wider region and the civilians in the wider region are extremely dark if conflict escalates – and for the world itself in terms of lives and in terms of livelihoods.

“Regional escalation has the potential to really undermine and obstruct trade routes, which impacts people in terms of food and in terms of the basic essentials of life, so it could not get more serious.

“We’re saying to Israel not to respond to Iran’s attack and we’re saying to both sides to de-escalate.

“We must not forget about the plight of the people of Gaza who are close to famine, too many civilian lives have been lost, the trauma and terror that the children of Gaza have been through must end, and that war has to end very quickly, and we have to get around the table in terms of charting a pathway for the reconstruction of Gaza and also for moving towards a political solution along the lines of a two-state approach.”

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