Slovenia’s government approves recognition of a Palestinian state

The government’s decision still requires the approval of the European Union member country’s parliament, which is set to vote on the motion on Tuesday.

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob, Culture Minister Asta Vrecko and Economy Minister Matjaz Han attend a press conference about the recognition of the Palestinian state, in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob speaks at a press conference about the recognition of the Palestinian state, in Ljubljana, Slovenia [Borut Zivulovic/Reuters]

The Slovenian government has approved a decision to recognise an independent Palestinian state, Prime Minister Robert Golob said, following in the steps of Spain, Norway and the Republic of Ireland.

“Today the government has decided to recognise Palestine as an independent and sovereign state,” he said at a news conference in Ljubljana on Thursday.

The government’s decision still requires the approval of the European Union member country’s parliament, which is set to vote on the motion on Tuesday.

“The session is scheduled for Tuesday from 4pm (14:00 GMT),” parliament speaker Urska Klakocar Zupancic told a press conference in Ljubljana.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he hoped Slovenian lawmakers wouldl reject the motion.

“The Slovenian government’s decision to recommend that the Slovenian parliament recognise a Palestinian state rewards Hamas… I hope the Slovenian parliament rejects this recommendation,” Katz said on X.

The move is part of a wider effort by some European countries to coordinate pressure on Israel to end the conflict in Gaza.

A Palestinian flag flies next to a Slovenian and a European Union flag, at the government building in Ljubljana, Slovenia
The Slovenian government raised a Palestinian flag alongside the flags of Slovenia and the European Union in front of its building in downtown Ljubljana [Borut Zivulovic/Reuters]

Golob also called for the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

“This is the message of peace,” he said.

The Slovenian government raised a Palestinian flag alongside the flags of Slovenia and the EU in front of its building in downtown Ljubljana.

On May 28, Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognised a Palestinian state, prompting an angry reaction from Israel.

Of the 27 members of the European Union, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have already recognised a Palestinian state. Malta has said it could follow soon.

Britain and Australia have said they are also considering recognition, but France has said now is not the time.

Germany joined Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, in rejecting a unilateral approach, insisting that a two-state solution can only be achieved through dialogue.

Denmark’s parliament on Tuesday voted down a bill to recognise a Palestinian state.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares, Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide and Ireland's Foreign Minister Micheal Martin hold a press conference in Brussels, Belgium May 27, 2024.REUTERS/Johanna Geron
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares (centre), Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (right), and Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin hold a press conference in Brussels, Belgium [File: Johanna Geron/Reuters]

Norway, which chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians, had until recently followed the US position but has lost confidence that this strategy will work.

Israel launched a war on Gaza after Hamas, which governs the territory, led an attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,139 people, according to an Al Jazeera tally based on Israeli statistics. Hamas also seized around 250 people as hostages.

At least 36,224 Palestinians have been killed and 81,777 wounded in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7, according to Gaza health officials.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies