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Spain to open a consular representative office in Gaza

January 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently decided to open a consular representative office in Gaza City, due to the urgent need for the existence of such an office. It will be an affiliate of the Spanish Consulate General in Jerusalem.

According to Spain’s governmental publication that was issued on April 1, the ministry has adopted a request submitted by the Consulate General in Jerusalem on 14th March, to “strengthen the presence of the consulate in the Gaza Strip,” and consequently the Spanish diplomatic presence there.

The Director General of Consular Affairs and Immigration and the Department of the Mediterranean, Morocco and Africa’s Affairs in the Spanish Foreign Ministry supported this request; and on this basis, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo decided to establish this representative office to be an affiliate of the consulate in Occupied Jerusalem.

Garcia-Margallo explained that the head of the representative office will be categorized in accordance with Article IX of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, signed on April 24, 1963, and it will be an honorary consul.

While the Spanish minister will be visiting the region soon, Israeli bodies have sought to discuss this issue with him, amid calls stressing that Spain should reconsider the decision, warning of its repercussions.

Spain is one of the 12 European countries that last November supported Palestine’s upgrade to non-member observer status at the United Nations General Assembly. This position triggered Israel’s outrage, causing the Israeli government to criticize Spain’s position as well as the positions of the other countries that supported Palestinians in defiance of Israeli pressure.

The newspaper reported that the consular office will provide its services to the Palestinian citizens in Gaza, who apply for visas to visit Spain, especially in light of their inability to access the headquarters of the Consulate General in Jerusalem. The role of the office would be to receive applications and send them to Jerusalem.