Slovenia opposition files motion delaying Palestinian state recognition

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Slovenia’s conservative opposition on Monday filed a motion that delays the country’s recognition of a Palestinian state, a parliamentary spokeswoman said, following last month’s recognition by three other European states.

Slovenian lawmakers had been scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to recognize a Palestinian state, just days after Spain, Ireland and Norway extended their recognition in response to the devastating Gaza war.

The three center-left parties in the governing coalition, which hold 51 of the 90 seats in parliament, support the recognition of a state of Palestine as part of efforts to end the fighting as soon as possible.

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But the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by former prime minister Janez Jansa filed a proposal to hold an advisory referendum on the decree for the recognition, the parliamentary spokeswoman told AFP -- a procedure that effectively delays the vote by about 30 days.

Now parliament will have to decide on the SDS proposal at its next regular session -- scheduled for June 17.

Though it is likely to be rejected, parliament might not then resume the debate about the recognition decree until its next session scheduled for July 8.

In its proposal, SDS says the government with the recognition bid “causes long term damage to Slovenia by supporting the terrorist organization Hamas,” according to national news agency STA.

The center-left government sent its decree on recognizing a Palestine state for parliamentary approval last week, speeding up a procedure that was initially scheduled to end by mid-June.

Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he hoped Slovenian lawmakers would reject recognizing a Palestinian state, saying a yes vote would be a “reward” to Hamas.

Spain, Ireland and Norway recognized a Palestinian state last month, bringing to 145 the number of the United Nations’ 193 member states that have recognized the statehood, according to the Palestinian authorities.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s October attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,479 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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