11 Jul, 2024 @ 14:47
3 mins read

Pedro Sanchez attends NATO summit: Spain’s PM slams ‘double standards’ between conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine

Washington DC, USA 20240710. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez during the NATO Summit 2024 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB

SPAIN’S Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called on members of NATO to apply international law equally in both Ukraine and Gaza, warning that ‘double standards’ would be counterproductive and weaken popular support for Ukraine in their fight against Russia.

Sanchez made the comments at the NATO summit in Washington D.C., attended by all 32 member states of the intergovernmental military alliance in celebration of its 75th anniversary this year.

The summit has thus far been dominated by debate surrounding the US President Joe Biden’s mental fitness ahead of this year’s presidential election after a woeful performance in a televised debate against presumptive Republican nominee and former President Donald Trump prompted key figures from the Democrats to discuss whether the 81-year old should be removed as the party’s candidate.

Nevertheless, representatives from each member state have been keen to use the summit to lobby for further military and financial support for Ukraine, which is also the first major international summit attended by Sir Keir Starmer, the new UK Prime Minister who came to office after his Labour Party won a commanding 170-seat landslide majority in last week’s general election.

READ MORE: Spain’s far-right Vox leader visits Israel: Santiago Abascal vows to ‘undo’ Pedro Sanchez’s recognition of Palestine in surprise meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu

A family photo of the 32 member states of NATO at this week’s Washington Summit. Credit: Cordon Press

At the start of this week’s summit, President Biden pledged to provide Ukraine with five new strategic air defence systems for Ukraine after a Russian missile destroyed a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, describing NATO as ‘more powerful than ever’ and insisting that ‘Ukraine will prevail’.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, on the other hand, used the summit to plead with his peers to ‘pay attention to the Global South’ and ensure that NATO could not be ‘accused of double standards that would weaken our support for Ukraine’.

While the war in Ukraine was mentioned more than 60 times in the final communiqué of the Washington summit, the conflict in the Middle East was not mentioned once.

Sanchez’s comments came after his government took the decision in May to formally recognise a Palestinian state, prompting outcry from Israel who claimed that the move supported ‘the murder of the Jewish people and the promotion of war crimes’ and threatened to close the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem as a result.

Speaking at the summit, Sanchez said that ‘we believe in the need to provide a political horizon for people in the region’ whereby a Palestinian state ‘can coexist in peace and security with its neighbours, especially with Israel’.

READ MORE: Spain agrees to send €1billion of arms to Ukraine – as Putin’s forces hammer the north of the country

Sanchez took the opportunity to emphasise his support for Ukraine and Volodymyr Zelensky. Credit: Cordon Press

Sanchez said: “Finally, I would like to insist on the need to pay attention to the south. And we have to do so in a coherent way. If we demand that international law be respected in Ukraine, we must also demand that it be respected in Gaza. We have always argued that our strength lies in our unity. In a globalised world, that unity has to go hand in hand with coherence. We cannot be accused of double standards that would weaken our support for Ukraine”.

He added: “I think it would be very important for our citizens to understand that what we are defending in Gaza and in Ukraine is not only international law, but that we have a coherent political position, that we do not have double standards. If we tell our people that we support Ukraine because we are defending international law, this is the same thing we have to do with Gaza and the war we are now witnessing in the Middle East. We need to show that we support international law, especially international humanitarian law”. 

Sanchez also emphasised his support for Ukraine, describing President Putin’s invasion as ‘an absolutely unjustified war’ and reiterating his solidarity with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President.

“This year’s summit is taking place in a complex international context, marked by the persistence of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the war in Gaza and instability on the southern flank. The allied countries must send a strong message of unity and cohesion, strengthening the transatlantic link and working for peace”, he added.

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to ben@theolivepress.es

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