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Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognize a Palestinian state as EU rift with Israel widens

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Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognize a Palestinian state as EU rift with Israel widens
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Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognize a Palestinian state as EU rift with Israel widens

2024-05-28 22:53 Last Updated At:23:02

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three Western European nations to add international pressure on Israel to soften its response to last year’s Hamas-led attack. Israel condemned the diplomatic move, which will have no immediate impact on the war in Gaza.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said in a televised address from Madrid that “this is a historic decision that has a single goal, and that is to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace."

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A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three Western European nations to add international pressure on Israel to soften its response to last year’s Hamas-led attack. Israel condemned the diplomatic move, which will have no immediate impact on the war in Gaza.

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A customer sits in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

A customer sits in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Customers stand in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Customers stand in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives for a EU Summit in Brussels, on March 21, 2024. Norway, Ireland and Spain recognized a Palestinian state on Wednesday May 22, 2024 in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland. (AP Photo/Omar Havana, File)

FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives for a EU Summit in Brussels, on March 21, 2024. Norway, Ireland and Spain recognized a Palestinian state on Wednesday May 22, 2024 in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland. (AP Photo/Omar Havana, File)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno attends a meeting for talks on the Middle East in Brussels, Sunday, May 26, 2024. The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell insisted Sunday that Israel must abide by the UN top court's rulings and end its offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and, at the same time, questioned the possible involvement of authorities in the settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno attends a meeting for talks on the Middle East in Brussels, Sunday, May 26, 2024. The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell insisted Sunday that Israel must abide by the UN top court's rulings and end its offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and, at the same time, questioned the possible involvement of authorities in the settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

From right, Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno and Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheal Martin pose for a photo, at the end of a media conference, during talks on the Middle East, in Brussels, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

From right, Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno and Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheal Martin pose for a photo, at the end of a media conference, during talks on the Middle East, in Brussels, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz quickly lashed out at Spain on X, saying that Sánchez's government was “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes.”

Ireland and Norway soon joined Spain in formalizing a decision they had jointly announced the previous week.

The Palestinian flag was raised in Dublin outside Leinster House, the seat of Ireland's parliament.

“I hope (this) sends the Palestinian people a message of hope that — in this their darkest hour — Ireland stands with them,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris told lawmakers in Ireland’s parliament after his Cabinet formally signed off on the decision.

“It is no longer enough just to condemn. It is no longer enough just to be repulsed,” he added. “We must be on the right side of history.”

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said in a statement that “for more than 30 years, Norway has been one of the strongest advocates for a Palestinian state. Today, when Norway officially recognizes Palestine as a state, is a milestone in the relationship between Norway and Palestine.”

While around 140 countries have recognized a Palestinian state — more than two-thirds of the United Nations — none of the major Western powers has done so. Still, the adherence of three European countries to the group represents a victory for Palestinian efforts in the world of public opinion, and will likely put pressure on European Union heavyweights France and Germany to rethink their position.

Previously only seven members of the 27-nation EU officially recognized a Palestinian state. Five of them are former East bloc countries that announced recognition in 1988, as did Cyprus, before joining the EU. Sweden’s recognition came in 2014.

Relations between the EU and Israel have nosedived with the diplomatic recognitions by two EU members, and Madrid insisting on Monday that the EU should take measures against Israel for its continued deadly attacks in southern Gaza’s city of Rafah.

After Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers, Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said: “For the first time at an EU meeting, in a real way, I have seen a significant discussion on sanctions” on Israel.

Harris, the Irish leader, insisted Tuesday that the EU should consider economic sanctions against Israel, saying: “Europe could be doing a hell of a lot more."

Norway, which isn't an EU member but often aligns its foreign policy with the bloc, handed diplomatic papers to the Palestinian government over the weekend before its formal recognition.

At the same time, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell threw his weight behind the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor is seeking an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others, including leaders of the Hamas militant group.

The formal declaration and resulting diplomatic dispute come more than seven months into an assault waged by Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack in which militants stormed across the Gaza border into Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage. Israel’s air and land attacks have killed 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn't distinguish between combatants and civilians.

The joint announcement by Spain, Ireland and Norway last week triggered an angry response from Israeli authorities, which summoned the countries’ ambassadors in Tel Aviv to the Foreign Ministry, where they were filmed while being shown videos of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and abductions.

Prime Minister Robert Golob of Slovenia said that Monday his government would decide on the recognition of a Palestinian state on Thursday, and forward its decision to parliament for final approval.

Finnish state broadcaster YLE quoted President Alexander Stubb as saying that the Nordic country would recognize it “at some stage in the future" also on Tuesday.

The U.S. and the United Kingdom, among others, back the idea of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, but say it should come as part of a negotiated settlement. Netanyahu’s government says the conflict can only be resolved through direct negotiations.

In his speech on Tuesday, Sánchez said that the recognition of a Palestinian state was “a decision that we do not adopt against anyone, least of all against Israel, a friendly people whom we respect, whom we appreciate and with whom we want to have the best possible relationship.”

The Socialist leader has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries, including stops in Oslo and Dublin, to garner support for the recognition of a Palestinian state. He called for a permanent cease-fire, for stepping up humanitarian aid into Gaza and for the release of hostages still held by Hamas.

Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, will meet with a group of U.S.-allied Middle Eastern countries in Spain’s capital on Wednesday, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan.

Sánchez said that his intention was to back the beleaguered Palestinian Authority, which lost effective political control of Gaza to Hamas. He laid out his vision for a state ruled by the Palestinian Authority that must connect the West Bank and Gaza via a corridor with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, cooperates with Israel on security matters and favors a negotiated two-state solution. Its forces were driven out of Gaza by Hamas when the militants seized power there in 2007.

The Palestinians have long sought an independent state in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The idea of a land corridor linking Gaza and the West Bank through Israel was discussed in previous rounds of peace talks, but no serious or substantive peace negotiations have been held in more than 15 years.

“We will not recognize changes in the 1967 border lines other than those agreed to by the parties,” Sánchez added.

“Furthermore, this decision reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization who is against the two-state solution,” Sánchez said. “From the outset, Spain has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks of Oct. 7. This clear condemnation is the resounding expression of our steadfast commitment in the fight against terrorism. I would like to underline that starting tomorrow, we would focus all our efforts to implement the two-state solution and make it a reality.”

Ireland’s government said it would appoint an ambassador and create a full embassy in Ramallah in the West Bank. Norway will upgrade its diplomatic office in the West Bank to an embassy. Spain said that for the moment, it will maintain its consulate in Jerusalem, although Israel has said that the consulate won’t be allowed to attend to Palestinians.

Barth Eide, the Norwegian foreign minister, added Tuesday that “it is regrettable that the Israeli government shows no signs of engaging constructively.”

“The recognition is a strong expression of support for moderate forces in both countries,” Norway’s top diplomat said.

Melanie Lidman in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aritz Parra in Madrid, Jill Lawless and Brian Melley in London, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Raf Casert in Brussels, contributed to this report.

Follow AP's Israel-Hamas coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House, Dublin, following the decision by the Government to formally recognise the Palestinian state, Tuesday May 28, 2024. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads "free Palestine", on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Spain and Norway have moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A customer sits in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

A customer sits in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Customers stand in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Customers stand in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives for a EU Summit in Brussels, on March 21, 2024. Norway, Ireland and Spain recognized a Palestinian state on Wednesday May 22, 2024 in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland. (AP Photo/Omar Havana, File)

FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives for a EU Summit in Brussels, on March 21, 2024. Norway, Ireland and Spain recognized a Palestinian state on Wednesday May 22, 2024 in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland. (AP Photo/Omar Havana, File)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno attends a meeting for talks on the Middle East in Brussels, Sunday, May 26, 2024. The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell insisted Sunday that Israel must abide by the UN top court's rulings and end its offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and, at the same time, questioned the possible involvement of authorities in the settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno attends a meeting for talks on the Middle East in Brussels, Sunday, May 26, 2024. The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell insisted Sunday that Israel must abide by the UN top court's rulings and end its offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and, at the same time, questioned the possible involvement of authorities in the settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

From right, Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno and Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheal Martin pose for a photo, at the end of a media conference, during talks on the Middle East, in Brussels, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

From right, Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno and Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheal Martin pose for a photo, at the end of a media conference, during talks on the Middle East, in Brussels, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Next Article

Shaqiri scores stunning goal in Switzerland's 1-1 draw with Scotland at Euro 2024

2024-06-20 09:28 Last Updated At:09:30

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — “Shaq” did it again.

At the age of 32 and having left top-flight European soccer behind to play in MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri is back on the international stage and back scoring again.

His stunning first-half strike secured a 1-1 draw for Switzerland against Scotland at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

It is the sixth-straight major international tournament in which Shaqiri has scored, dating to the World Cup in 2014.

That’s three World Cups in a row and now three European Championships for the Chicago Fire forward. According to UEFA he is the first player to achieve that feat.

“He proved tonight that he lives and breathes for moments like these,” Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said.

Shaqiri rolled back the years with a first-time curling effort from about 20 meters out at Cologne Stadium.

Scotland led from the 13th minute when Scott McTominay’s shot took a wicked deflection off Fabian Schar to beat Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

But Shaqiri pounced on Anthony Ralston’s loose pass in the 26th to even the match with a left-footed shot into the top corner and past Scotland keeper Angus Gunn.

“If that chance falls to any other player in the Swiss team, it’s not a goal,” Scotland manager Steve Clarke said. “You knew when it was rolling towards Shaqiri it was destined for the back of the net. He’s a top, top player, so you don’t give top, top players that kind of chance.”

Shaqiri’s career has seen him play for some of Europe’s most iconic teams, including Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool. He joined the Fire two years ago, but in that time has continued to produce for his country on the biggest stage.

“Shaq always gives everything in training,” Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji said. “I don’t know how many other players are able to score that goal.”

The draw leaves Switzerland on four points, second in Group A behind Germany and likely to advance to the round of 16.

Germany became the first nation to advance after a 2-0 win over Hungary earlier in the day.

Scotland’s hopes of making the knockout round depend on its final game against Hungary on Sunday and results elsewhere. No team has failed to advance from the group stage with four points.

Both teams had chances to win the game.

The Swiss should have taken the lead just before the hour mark when Dan Ndoye turned Kieran Tierney on the edge of the box. With just goalkeeper Angus Gunn to beat, Ndoye fired wide of goal.

Grant Hanley then headed against the post from a Scotland free kick and Switzerland’s Zeki Amdouni headed wide at the far post late on.

Scotland has never advanced beyond the group stage of a World Cup or Euros on 11 previous attempts.

But repeated disappointment doesn’t seem to dampen optimism among its fans, who filled Cologne’s square before the game.

Swiss supporters were out in numbers, too, creating a raucous atmosphere in the stadium.

It was certainly a more enjoyable evening for Scotland’s fans than the opening game of the Euros — a 5-1 loss to Germany.

“It was what we expected. It was a good reaction to a disappointing night. We’re still alive in the tournament,” Clarke said.

Goals from Jamal Musiala and İlkay Gündoğan made it two wins from two for host Germany after victory against Hungary and ensured there would be no repeat of its group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup.

Albania substitute Klaus Gjasula scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hold World Cup semifinalist Croatia to a 2-2 draw in Group B. Gjasula’s own goal, just four minutes after entering the game in the second half, had looked like handing Croatia the win until his late strike.

James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

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