Spain and the Middle East
In spite of tensions with Morocco over control of Ceuta and Melilla, Spain continued to consider itself as a bridge between the Arab world and Western Europe. In an effort to maintain good relations with Islamic states, the Spanish government adopted a pro-Arab stance in most Middle East conflicts. For years, Spain was the only West European country that did not recognize Israel. The Spanish government finally established diplomatic relations with the Israeli state in January 1986. When that step resulted in widespread criticism from the Arab states, Spain hastened to compensate by according diplomatic status to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Madrid in August 1986. More generalized efforts to increase Spain's role throughout the Middle East and Africa in the 1980s included expanded trade and cultural relations.
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