Speech by the acting President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, at the opening session of the Cairo Summit for Peace


Cairo (Egypt)


Thank you.

At this critical moment, when we are all still in shock from the ongoing spiral of violence and bloodshed, it is time for the international community to act boldly.

Therefore, I would like to start by thanking President Al Sisi for gathering us today in Cairo.

This summit must be the first step towards restoring peace in the region and breaking this terrible cycle of violence.

The Spain's position is crystal clear as reflected in the joint statement we, the European Union leaders, adopted last Sunday. We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks perpetrated against Israel. And we also recognize Israel's right to defend itself in strict compliance with international law and international humanitarian law.

If the international community does not act, the situation can dramatically worsen. At this point in time, we need to focus both on what is urgent and on what is important.

There are three priorities we must address urgently.

First, we must protect the civilian population and guarantee humanitarian access to Gaza. That means sustainable and sizeable humanitarian aid that meets the needs of the Palestinian population. Furthermore, I join the UN Secretary General's call for a humanitarian ceasefire.

Second, Hamas must release all hostages immediately and without conditions. We must ensure all hostages, including Israelis and other nationals, can return safely with their families.

Third, we cannot let this conflict turn into a regional crisis. The situation is very volatile and a small spark can start a wildfire. We must use all our political influence, with all relevant actors, to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

At the same time, while we act upon what is urgent, we must also act upon what is important.

And this means offering the Palestinian people, as well as the Israeli people, a credible prospect for peace, which must be the implementation of the two-state solution, two States -Palestine and Israel- in peaceful and safe coexistence.

For too many years, the international community thought we could live without paying too much attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Recent events have proved us wrong. Today, we cannot postpone a solution.

The international community has demonstrated in the past that if there is political will, there is a future. The Madrid Conference in 1991 and the Oslo Agreements are good examples that we can bring hope. We must seize every opportunity to promote dialogue and peace.

Dear colleagues,

What we need today is to protect all civilians. I repeat: what we need today is to protect all civilians. Those who are kept hostage and need to be brought back with their families and those who are suffering horror in Gaza. And the only way to achieve this is through more humanitarian aid and a humanitarian ceasefire. But at the same time, we must strive to set the building blocks for two States, Israel and Palestine, that respect each other and coexist in safety and peace.

I sincerely wish that this summit will set the course for peace in the Middle East.

Peace that will ensure that the dramatic events that we are witnessing today will not happen again.

Thank you.

Original speech in English