The Slovenia Times

Fajon reaffirms position on Palestine recognition as she visits the region

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon meets her counterpart Israel Katz during her visit to Israel. Photo: Tanja Fajon/X

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon visited Israel and the West Bank on 5 May for a second time since the start of the Israeli-Hamas war nearly seven months ago, sending out a message that the recognition of Palestine as an independent state is no longer an issue for Slovenia.

Meeting with her Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Jerusalem, Fajon said the key point of the meeting was her appeal for peace and for dialogue to replace weapons.

She appealed on Israel to refrain from the planned military operation in Rafah, the only major city in the Gaza Strip that the Israel Defense Forces have not invaded yet.

She also called for efforts to be made to attain progress in the talks held in Cairo to negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza and for the release of hostages taken by Hamas.

She and her Israeli counterpart also discussed the need to protect civilians and increase humanitarian aid into Gaza.

One of the topics broached was the recognition of Palestine as an independent state, an issue that Fajon acknowledged Slovenia and Israel disagree on.

Katz tod her that unilateral recognition of Palestine would not go down well with Israel because they believe it would strengthen Hamas. Slovenia was therefore urged to reconsider its position.

"The recognition of Palestine is no longer an issue for Slovenia. If there is no ceasefire, and no serious efforts for a lasting peace, the time for recognition of Palestine is approaching fast," Fajon said.

The Slovenian foreign minister also expressed concern about the escalation of settler violence in the West Bank and Israel's plans to finance new settlements.

She was also due to meet Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog, but they only talked over the phone due to what she said were difficulties in coordinating their schedules. Some Slovenian media speculated the meeting in person might have been cancelled due to Slovenia's position on Palestine.

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon pays tribute to the Holocaust victims at the Yad Vashem memorial during her trip to Israel. Photo: Tanja Fajon/X

Meeting with the relatives of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas, Fajon said "we all want to see a ceasefire and the release of hostages as soon as possible" and condemned all forms of terror and violence against civilians, including sexual violence.

She also visited the Yad Vashem memorial to lay a wreath and pay tribute to six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, pledging for Slovenia to continue to fight anti-Semitism.

In Ramallah, Fajon met Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa, who also serves as foreign minister, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The meetings called for a ceasefire in Gaza and a peace conference that would guarantee peace to the Palestinians and Israelis. They also discussed how to empower and reform the Palestinian authority to make it strong enough to control not only the West Bank but Gaza as well.

Fajon and Mustafa assessed that recognising Palestine's independence would benefit both sides and lead to a two-state solution.

Fajon told Slovenian journalists after the talks that Palestinian representatives hoped that the Cairo talks would lead to an agreement on a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages, which could lead to a more permanent truce. During this period, talks could start in earnest on a peace plan and on a peace conference, Fajon said, pledging for Slovenia to work toward those goals.

"The Palestinian representatives are certainly very grateful to us because they know that Slovenia is really working for peace, that we have very clear positions, that we want a lasting ceasefire, that we want a two-state solution," Fajon said.

The Palestinian side thanked Slovenia for voting in favour of a draft resolution on the UN Security Council that recommended for Palestine to be admitted as a full member to the world organisation, an effort stopped by a United States veto.


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