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Sánchez travels to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar after committing to recognize the Palestinian State

The entry of STC into Telefónica will not be a priority issue on the Saudi scale because the Government makes its position known.

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Sánchez travels to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar after committing to recognize the Palestinian State

The entry of STC into Telefónica will not be a priority issue on the Saudi scale because the Government makes its position known.


The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, begins his second tour to the Middle East since the outbreak of the conflict in the Gaza Strip, this time with stops in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, three countries that Spain considers essential interlocutors with a view to to advance the plan to recognize the Palestinian State and hold a peace conference that will resolve the underlying crisis.

Sánchez, who traveled to Israel, Palestine and Egypt in November and to Iraq in December, arrives again in the area after the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire in Gaza for the first time, a turning point that The Government hopes to take advantage of this to promote short-term progress and also start talking about the post-conflict.

In this sense, Spain has agreed with Ireland, Slovenia and Malta on an upcoming recognition of the Palestinian State - according to official sources, it only remains to be determined when it will be done and the most convenient moment will be taken into account so that it can serve as a catalyst for other advances. - and wants to discuss with Arab countries the recognition of Israel, pending for example in the case of Saudi Arabia.

The Government also advocates for a strong Palestinian Authority capable of assuming control of that future State, taking into account that Hamas cannot be part of the solution, and proposes a peace conference that already has the endorsement of nearly 90 countries, although in this case neither when nor where it could take place has been specified.

The stopover in Jordan will include a public gesture of support for the work of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), since Sánchez will visit the Jabal el Hussein camp early on Tuesday, accompanied by the ' number two' of the aforementioned organization, Natalie Boucly.

Spain has increased its aid to UNRWA despite the accusations leveled against some of its workers and, with this quote, the president wants to highlight the work of the agency not only in Gaza but in the entire region - in Jordan there are 2 .4 million Palestinian refugees--.

Sánchez will also tour the Citadel of Amman, rebuilt with funds from Spanish cooperation, and will immediately meet with King Abdullah II, who visited Spain twice in 2023, the last of them in December, with the conflict in Gaza already underway. . Jordan is also the main channel for sending aid by air to the Gaza Strip, in which Spain also collaborates.

In Saudi Arabia, the entire agenda will be concentrated in Jeddah, with meetings with both King Abdullah and the Crown Prince, Mohamed Bin Salmán, in the latter case after breaking the fast for the month of Ramadan. The Government considers it especially relevant that the tour coincides with the holy month for Muslims and, in fact, Sánchez will also be invited to an official 'iftar' dinner in Qatar.

In Qatar, the agenda includes meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, and with the Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, with a view, among other things, to the signing of a memorandum of understanding that provides content at the current level of bilateral relations, elevated in 2022 to 'strategic partnership'.

Sánchez will also hold a meeting with relevant women in various disciplines such as politics, economics, culture, sports or science.

In both Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Sánchez will meet representatives of Spanish companies with interests in these countries. In Saudi Arabia alone, Spanish companies have won contracts worth 17 billion euros in the last decade, which for the Executive demonstrates the importance of bilateral economic relations.

However, official sources make it clear that the entry of the Saudi STC into Telefónica's shareholding does not represent a priority issue of the trip, although Sánchez would be prepared to discuss it if the other party brings it into coalition. The Government considers that its position is already known and frames within the strategic interest for Telefónica the purchase of a 3 percent stake through the State Industrial Participation Company (SEPI), with a view to reaching up to 10 percent.

The Executive is also awaiting the steps of the Saudi side, which must request authorization to also reach 9.9 percent, the result of a commitment that it announced by surprise at the end of September. In this sense, official sources clarify that the Executive will not reveal whether STC has already requested authorization and will limit itself to announcing the endorsement or rejection of said request in the Council of Ministers.