PARIS (Aug. 22)
Spain announced yesterday that it will establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel before autumn 1986. Spanish Foreign Minister Francesco Fernandez Ordonez said that Spain’s formal recognition “will be extended within one year, at the most.” Ordonez was answering questions during an interview with a private radio station in Madrid, “Radio Cope”.
The minister, who according to diplomatic sources in Madrid was speaking with the backing of Premier Felipe Gonzalez, said that Spain’s formal entry into the European Economic Community which will become final on January 1, “compels Spain to act” on this question.
Felipe Gonzalez, an associate of Israeli Premier Shimon Peres within the Socialist International, has repeatedly promised Israel before coming to power that he will establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. Since he assumed power three years ago he has reiterated these promises, saying privately, however, that he has to wait “for an opportune moment.”
Spain is heavily dependent on Arab investments. A large Arab community has settled in southern Spain, especially in the Marbella area, boosting the province’s economy and helping relieve unemployment. In spite of the lack of formal relations, Israel has a diplomatic mission in Madrid. Its head, though he has no official status, enjoys most of the privileges normally given an Ambassador.