Foreign Minister Says Slovenia Will Recognise Palestine

By , 22 Jan 2018, 21:39 PM Politics
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"We're defending the two-state solution," Erjavec said, adding that the decision was in line with the EU standards. 

January 22, 2018

The STA reports January 22, 2018, that Slovenia will pursue recognising the Palestinian state on its own, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and EU ministers in charge of foreign affairs in Brussels on Monday. He expects the National Assembly will discuss the recognition at a plenary in March or April.

"Slovenia has an independent foreign policy and I don't know why we should wait for others all of a sudden," said Erjavec, who believes there is no doubt that Slovenia will recognise the Palestinian state as the matter has been agreed by the coalition.

What is more, the minister is certain that in the long run, it will be proven that "Slovenia made the right decision at the right moment".

Touching on today's informal talks in Brussels, Erjavec said it was his understanding that it was right for Slovenia to make this step.

He expects the motion to recognise Palestine will get the green light at the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee by the end of the March, upon which the matter will be discussed at the plenary in March or April.

According to Erjavec, Abbas welcomed Slovenia's activities and said this was an important signal for other members of the EU that have not recognised the Palestinian state yet.

The minister also discussed Slovenia's plans with counterparts from France, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg and Ireland. According to him, all of them support Slovenia's efforts in principle and some believe that it is a step in the right direction.

Erjavec added that France still needed some time as it wanted to see what happens with the Middle East process. Meanwhile, the minister said that the French foreign minister strongly supported Slovenia's decision.

Quizzed whether he was worried about potential political or economic consequences, the minister said that history taught us what happened after certain states recognised the Palestinian state, but that the consequences should not be such as to prevent doing it.

Through recognition, the Palestinian state is being given stronger, more equal grounds in political negotiations. "We're defending the two-state solution," Erjavec said and added that the decision was completely in line with the EU standards.

The issue of the recognition of the Palestinian state has been present ever since Slovenia gained independence, as the right to self-determination has a special meaning for Slovenia, the minister added.

So far, ten members of the EU have recognised the Palestinian state: Bulgaria, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania did it in 1988, Portugal in 2012 and Sweden in 2014.

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