The Slovenia Times

Fajon urges Gaza hostilities cessation in UN debate

Politics
The UN Security Council Session on the Middle East. Photo: dpa/STA

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in her first address to the UN Security Council since Slovenia joined the body as a non-permanent member at the beginning of the year.

"My message today is clear and it is only one: we need an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and in the region," Fajon said in an open debate on the situation in the Middle East on 23 January during a session called by France as the country chairing the UN Security Council in January.

"Only a ceasefire respected by all parties to the conflict will bring about the protection of civilians," the Slovenian minister said, adding that one in hundred Palestinians in Gaza has been killed. "It is enough."

Fajon noted that the vast majority of those killed in Gaza are women and children. "Civilians in Gaza are facing relentless attacks coupled with starvation, overcrowded and unsafe shelters, destroyed civilian infrastructure, a collapsed health system and the impossibility of accessing other basic services."

She repeated her call for preparations to start for an international peace conference to address all the issues of a two-state solution, and stressed that the humanitarian community is facing many challenges, including the killed and displaced humanitarian and medical workers.

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon. Photo: Bor Slana/STA

On behalf of Slovenia she condemned statements by Israeli officials proposing mass displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, and expressed deep concern about the conditions internally displaced Palestinians in Gaza are living in.

Slovenia condemns Hamas's terrorist attacks on 7 October 2023, the organisation's continuing attacks on Israel and "we repeat our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages", Fajon added.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to all the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law which have taken place in recent months," Fajon said, offering a strong international legal system as a guarantee of international peace and security.

She noted that the violence is spilling over in the region, condemning the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. "Freedom of navigation and maritime security are critically important for the movement of essential goods. Tensions in the region are mounting, and we will soon reach a point of no return," Fajon warned.

The minister believes that a ceasefire - a process starting with the cessation of hostilities respected by all parties to the conflict - will enable reconstruction of Gaza under the leadership of a revitalised Palestinian authority.

This would lead to an independent Palestinian state, a safe and secure Israel, a peaceful region and the people of all countries in the region living free of fear and terror, Fajon said.

"26,000 victims, Palestinian and Israeli alike, are not statistics; each of them had a life, family, dreams, hopes and plans. The best way to show respect to those who have lost their lives in this conflict, is to pave the way for peace," she concluded.

Snow mounds representing Palestinian victims in Gaza in front of the parliament building. Photo: STA

There is a growing public pressure in Slovenia for the government to take a more firm stance on the conflict in Gaza with the left-wing magazine Mladina launching a petition calling for a lasting end to Israeli attacks on Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The petition, which has been signed by more than 8,000 people, including many well-known personalities from various walks of life such as independence figure Spomenka Hribar, star chef Ana RoŇ° and the prime minister's partner Tina Gaber, urges for Slovenia to join South Africa's case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, impose embargo on arms trading with Israel and push for the EU to impose sanctions on Israel, and break off diplomatic relations with Israel.

Meanwhile, some 60 prominent figures from academia and public life, including Hribar, addressed a public call to the country's leaders for a change in foreign policy, over the war in Ukraine and Gaza.

In a petition initiated by SocDem MP Aurelio Juri, they urge talks with Russia, sanctions against Israel and a withdrawal of Slovenia's consent for the deployment of an EU fleet to the Red Sea.

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