Slovenia's Parliament Expected to Recognize State of Palestine

Slovenia's foreign affairs committee will vote on the move on Wednesday before parliament holds full vote ■ Slovenia would be the second country in the EU after Sweden to recognize a Palestinian state

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, November 2017.
\ YVES HERMAN/REUTERS

Slovenia’s parliament is expected to recognize the state of Palestine in the near future.

On Wednesday, the legislature’s foreign affairs committee will vote on a draft resolution, with the backing of Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, before it passes to parliament for a full vote.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the matter, but the Israeli assessment is that the move will pass with a comfortable majority.

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The draft resolution states that “The Republic of Slovenia recognises Palestine as an independent and sovereign state.” However, the affairs foreign committee will likely ask the government to prepare its own proposal, which will probably be very similar. The committee will then meet again on the government proposal before the final vote in the plenary, which is expected in March or April.

Last Friday, Slovenian President Borut Pahor told AFP that he opposed recognizing Palestine for the time being. However, as in Israel, the president does not control what the parliament does, and his statement is solely a symbolic declaration. If the decision does indeed pass, Slovenia would be the second country in the European Union after Sweden to recognize a Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, at the initiative of Norway and the European Union, a conference will be held in Brussels on Wednesday in the shadow of the crisis in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, American threats to cut Palestinian aid, the stalemate in Palestinian reconciliation talks and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Coordinator of Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai will represent Israel at the conference, which was initiated by Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Earlier this month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the European Union to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders during a joint press conference with Mogherini in Brussels.

The Palestinian president said that recognizing Palestine will not be a barrier to peace and that “the only way to achieve peace with Israel is through internationally led negotiations.” 

Abbas added that the EU is among the main partners in building the institutions of a Palestinian state, and that the Palestinians will seek full implementation of UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

At the press conference, Mogherini reiterated the EU’s commitment to investing in the Palestinian state-building process, aiming to “reassure Palestinians and President Abbas of [the EU’s] continued support, including financial,” through UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.