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Minister Fajon: Three Slovenian citizens successfully evacuated from northern Gaza

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon announced that with great efforts and excellent cooperation between several parties, three Slovenian citizens have been evacuated from Gaza. She thanked her colleagues for their tireless efforts to help Slovenian citizens and announced a visit to the Middle East.
viktor mlakar, tanja fajon, dragan barbutovski na novinarski konferenci

The procedure for the evacuation of Slovenian citizens from Gaza was explained at the press conference | Author Ministrstvo za zunanje in evropske zadeve

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“We have brought a family of three from Gaza to safety in Cairo. As the family wishes to protect their privacy and the evacuation should not be jeopardised, you are being informed today and not at the time of the evacuation," Minister said at the beginning.

Minister Fajon went on to explain how the difficult evacuation from northern Gaza, where movement is restricted and dangerous, was carried out: “The evacuation was further complicated by the fact that two people were injured, one of whom seriously and is currently receiving emergency medical treatment in Cairo.”

Since the family contacted the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs on 2 November, there has been constant coordination with our embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv and our office in Ramallah to jointly organise the Rafah border crossing with the Israeli and Egyptian authorities.

“We should be aware that this is a closed area where crossing is practically impossible. There is constant danger and communication is very difficult. It was therefore difficult to stay in contact with the Slovenian family, but we managed to do so. In this way, we received the information we needed to obtain all permits for their departure from Gaza to Egypt,” said Viktor Mlakar, Acting Head of the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, adding: “What you need to know is that the journey from the north of Gaza to the south takes around eight hours in these conditions, and it is only thanks to the family’s ingenuity and courage that they managed this difficult journey.”

Forty-nine Slovenian citizens were helped to leave the war zone

Since the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, the Consular Department has assisted a total of 73 Slovenian citizens who have turned to our ministry for support in returning to their home country. We helped 49 Slovenian citizens to leave the country. The most important thing was the organisation of the air transport with a chartered Montenegro Airlines aircraft provided by the Government of Montenegro. There were 18 citizens on board this flight. 24 Slovenian citizens remain in Israel of their own free will, and one person remains in Lebanon. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues in our Consular Department, Acting Head Viktor Mlakar, Head of the Consular Crisis Response Section Jan Mulec and our diplomatic and consular staff in Tel Aviv, Cairo and Ramallah who work tirelessly to help Slovenian citizens in the Middle East. I would also like to thank the many international partners and partner countries who are helping each other and providing information,” said Minister Fajon.

Minister Fajon will be travelling to the Middle East

The minister also announced that she would soon be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories to meet representatives of both sides and learn more about the situation in the region. “My message for the visit is that a two-state solution requires greater involvement from the Arab side and greater engagement from the EU in the region. For this, we need an empowered Palestinian authorities. This also means that we will not support the forced expulsion of the inhabitants of Gaza or the reduction of this enclave. Nor do we accept a separate solution for Gaza and the West Bank in accordance with UN resolutions.” The minister added that she would call on both sides to do everything possible to achieve an immediate humanitarian ceasefire: “I have been drawing attention to this since the outbreak of hostilities. It is our responsibility to protect the civilian population and its most vulnerable members.”

As part of her visit to the Middle East, she will also hold talks in Jordan and Egypt.