The Slovenia Times

Opposition leader's visit to Israel raises eyebrows

Jerusalem. Photo: Xinhua/STA

Opposition leader Janez Janša has caused upset at home by advocating views contrary to Slovenia's official positions during a recent visit to Israel. He is reported to have promised to move Slovenian embassy to Jerusalem if he is to become prime minister again.

Janša, the leader of the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), who had served three times as Slovenia's prime minister in the past, visited Israel at the beginning of last week as part of an International Democracy Union (IDU) delegation. The IDU brings together some 80 centre-right parties.

He met a number of Israeli senior officials, including Foreign Minister Israel Katz. He also visited the Kfar Aza kibbutz, which was one of the targets of Hamas's 7 October attack.

According to posts by the IDU and other sources on the social media network X, which Janša reposted, he announced during the visit that if he were to become PM again he would move the Slovenian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Amichai Chikli, the Israeli minister of diaspora affairs, posted a message on X saying it was a privilege to meet the IDU delegation and Janša, "Slovenia's former and hopefully next prime minister, who announced that a conservative government under his helm would move the embassy to Jerusalem".

Media also reported that Janša expressed support for Benjamin Netanyahu's government, its military actions in the Gaza Strip and refusal to advance a two-state solution.

Janša's trip was discussed by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee on 28 February with Lenart Žavbi, an MP for the ruling Freedom Movement, taking issue with Janša's comments, which go against Slovenia's official position.

He argued that Janša was pursuing a parallel foreign policy and as a result harming Slovenia's reputation, which he said was particularly damaging being that the country is currently serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Foreign Ministry State Secretary Sanja Štiglic said the ministry and the Slovenian embassy in Tel Aviv were not informed about Janša's visit, which they regard as a party-level visit.

It is not for the ministry to comment on MPs' activities, but they would like to see Slovenian politicians' views abroad be as coordinated as possible.

Štiglic said the government had no intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

"Slovenia intends to follow the internationally accepted position that Jerusalem's status should not be changed," she said, adding that the embassy would not be moved there until a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians was reached and a two-state solution achieved.

This has been the position of all Slovenian governments so far, the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee and the EU, she noted.

Janša was not present at the session although he is a member of the Foreign Policy Committee.


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