Palestine (the State of)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Travel Advice: COVID-19
As the probability of infection with COVID-19 remains present, Slovenian citizens wishing to travel abroad are advised to follow the news on the spread of the virus, especially on the planned route, to check the conditions of entry into the country of destination, and to comply with local rules. Slovenian citizens returning from abroad are advised to follow the recommendations of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).
Slovenia recognises the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, yet it has not recognised Palestine as a state. However, this does not hamper the development of friendly ties and all-round cooperation with the Palestinian authorities.
Slovenia and Palestine have established good relations, which are underpinned by regular political dialogue. The two countries also collaborate in education and humanitarian aid, including by implementing a variety of humanitarian projects.
Close political contacts between Slovenia and Palestine have been reflected in mutual visits at the highest political levels. These include visits to Palestine by President of the Republic Danilo Türk in January 2009, Prime Minister Borut Pahor in July 2011, and President of the National Assembly Milan Brglez in June 2017. Foreign ministers Dimitrij Rupel and Samuel Žbogar also visited the region on several occasions, Rupel in May 2007 and March 2008 (his second visit was undertaken in the framework of Slovenia’s Council presidency), and Žbogar in November 2010. Palestinian visits to Slovenia include those by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008 and two members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Nabil Shaath in May 2011 and Hanan Ashrawi in May and September 2017. Palestinian foreign ministers have also visited Slovenia: Nabil Shaath in April 2004 and Riad Al Malki in January 2008, September 2012 and July 2019. In addition, several visits have also taken place at the level of other line ministries.
During Al Malki’s visit in January 2008, the Agreement on political consultations, which are held once a year between the foreign ministries, was signed.
Other cooperation areas
In addition to bilateral cooperation, Slovenia has played an active part at the multilateral level by providing support for the establishment of Palestinian institutional structures in the framework of its engagement in the EU Police and Rule of Law Mission EUPOL COPPS.
Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid
For many years, the Republic of Slovenia has been supporting the activities of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In 2020, Slovenia fulfilled its obligations amounting to EUR 50,000, announced at the donors’ conference in February 2018 (Rome), with total amount of EUR 165,000. A portion of this amount is also intended for the UNRWA’s humanitarian appeal for the COVID-19 response.
In December 2018, Slovenia contributed EUR 500,000 towards the construction of a desalination facility in Gaza, thus fulfilling its pledge from the donors’ conference that took place in March 2018 (Brussels).
Through the ITF Enhancing Human Security non-profit organisation, Slovenia has also been financing a range of projects of health and psychosocial rehabilitation for Palestinian children and educating experts in rehabilitation and the provision of psychosocial support.
In March 2019, Slovenia launched the implementation of the ITF’s two-year project entitled “Psychosocial support of victims of conflict and rehabilitation assistance in Gaza Strip and West Bank”, which is the continuation of the psychosocial support programme implemented in Gaza between 2017 and 2018. It was mainly aimed at providing psychosocial support for child victims of armed conflict in Gaza, while contributing to a more rapid and more effective reintegration of victims into society as well as improving the expertise on comprehensive rehabilitation. Between 2019 and 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-financed this project with funds amounting to EUR 145,000.
In the 2021–2022 period, the ITF will implement another two-year project in Palestine entitled “Activation of Human Resources to assist the population in Gaza and West Bank during COVID-19”, which will be co-financed by the Ministry in the amount of EUR 140,000.
The Ministry has been supporting the ITF’s activities in the Gaza Strip since 2009 by allocating a total of EUR 888,046. The ITF’s projects are also co-funded by the Republic of Korea and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). In October 2019, Slovenia and OFID thus co-financed the project of the establishment of a rehabilitation Centre in Bethlehem, with Slovenia funding the training of rehabilitation specialists at URI – Soča.
Slovenia also provides development assistance to Palestine in the field of education. In December 2014, following the development agreements with the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of RS (Ad futura) published a call for development scholarships for postgraduate studies in the RS for Palestinian citizens. All three Palestinian students on the Ad futura scholarship successfully completed their Master studies in the RS. At the end of 2019, a new call for postgraduate scholarships for Palestinian citizens to study in the RS was published and two students were awarded the scholarship.