JERUSALEM (Jan. 16)
Spain and Israel are expected to announce tomorrow the establishment of diplomatic relations between them, informed sources here confirmed today.
The announcement in Madrid is to follow a Cabinet meeting there with a simultaneous announcement in Jerusalem, the sources said. Earlier this week, the Spanish Foreign Minister summoned the Ambassadors of the Arab League states to inform them that his government’s recognition of Israel was imminent.
Spain, which became a member of the European Economic Community (EEC) on January I, has never recognized the Jewish State. Discreet contacts began about 10 years ago, following the death of Gen. Francisco Franco and the restoration of democratic government in Spain.
The contacts accelerated after Shimon Peres took office as Israeli Premier last year. He and the Spanish Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzalez, are long-time colleagues in the Socialist International. Gonzalez has visited Israel several times. Israel presently maintains a tourism office in Madrid, headed by a diplomatic official. The two countries are now expected to exchange Ambassadors.