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Slovenia and Belgium are part of the EU core that will always defend the rules and the rule of law

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon met Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib in Brussels to discuss the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the signing of the Ljubljana – The Hague Convention, feminist foreign policy, Slovenia's membership of the UN Security Council and other current European and foreign policy issues.

Slovenia and Belgium are like-minded European countries committed to a stronger and more resilient Europe. "As a staunch advocate of the importance of European integration and unity, and of democratic values such as the rule of law and respect for human rights, I am very pleased that these themes are at the forefront of the Belgian Presidency, as they are also extremely close to Slovenia and its foreign policy. Slovenia and Belgium are close allies and part of a core within the EU that will always champion the rules and the rule of law," said Minister Fajon. She expressed her support for the priorities of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU under the slogan "Protect, Strengthen, Prepare" and underlined Slovenia's readiness to support the implementation of the Belgian Presidency programme. She also expressed her hope that the Belgian Presidency will strengthen cooperation with the Western Balkan countries and recalled the important message of the "Bled Pledge".

Slovenia and Belgium have strengthened their positive and friendly relations during more than 10 years of cooperation in the MLA core group. As a result, a diplomatic conference was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in May 2023, with the participation of 53 supporting countries, where the Ljubljana – The Hague Convention was adopted, enabling better international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other international crimes. Minister Fajon took the opportunity to thank Belgium for assuming the role of depositary of the Convention, and hoped that as many countries as possible will follow suit on 14 and 15 February 2024, when the two ministers will sign the Convention in The Hague.

Regarding the current situation in the Middle East, the two ministers called for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of civilians. Slovenia and Belgium strongly support the International Court of Justice and, in the case of South Africa, call on all parties to respect its decisions. On Ukraine, they reiterated their clear position that the country should be supported for as long as necessary.

The two countries are also committed to a feminist foreign policy and share many views on current international issues, such as the situation in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine. "I am pleased that Slovenia and Belgium are paying special attention to the empowerment of women and girls worldwide. Given that this is one of the priorities of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU and Slovenia's membership of the UN Security Council, I believe that there are many opportunities to strengthen cooperation and mainstream this very important issue in all EU policies and more broadly at the multilateral level," said Minister Fajon, adding that the full and equal participation of women and men is crucial in the quest for peace, stability and sustainable development.