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Minister Fajon in Doha: Now more than ever, it is vital for the international community to come together

On the fourth day of her Middle East and Gulf tour, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar. The main topic of the talks was the Middle East, including the efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

The two high officials spent most of their time discussing the situation in the Middle East. "Slovenia greatly appreciates the role of Qatar and its efforts to ensure that the negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages resume as soon as possible," said Ms Fajon after the meeting in Doha, underlining how important it is for the international community to be united and resolute in this matter, now more than ever. "We need to stand together, despite the fact that we may be on different sides of the divide, and we must bring peace to Gaza," Fajon added. Both ministers expressed their dismay at the dire situation in Gaza and called for humanitarian aid to be delivered as quickly as possible.

They also discussed the procedures for the recognition of Palestine initiated by the Slovenian government and the intentions of other EU member states.  "I am very much looking forward to discussing the situation with the Arab foreign ministers in Brussels at the end of May, on the margins of the EU foreign ministers' meeting. I really hope for this debate to take place, because it would be an opportunity to analyse the situation between all the relevant players and at the same time to prepare a roadmap on how to move forward on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the two-state solution," Minister Fajon said. She also underlined that Slovenia's position was visible in Qatar and Al-Thani thanked her that adding that Slovenia is appreciated in the wider Arab world, including among the people, for its principled positions.

In the past, Slovenia had a very successful project for the rehabilitation of children from Gaza, helping them through former Slovenian President Danilo Türk's foundation 'Let Children Dream'. "We agreed that it was a great project, also sponsored by Qatar.  The Minister expressed his interest in Qatar helping again in the future - of course, when circumstances allow." The project was implemented between 2015 and 2018, with Qatar fully supporting the second stage of the project. Under this project, 101 children and 12 medical workers were brought to Slovenia.

During the meeting, the ministers signed an agreement to lift visa requirements for certain categories, including diplomats. "I am very happy about the agreement, it is an important step forward in our bilateral relations," Minister Fajon stressed, announcing that she had also invited the Minister to visit Slovenia, which he accepted. They also discussed air connectivity between the two countries and ways to strengthen cooperation in tourism. They also touched on energy issues.

On the sidelines of her visit to Doha, Minister Fajon visited the Al-Mujadillah Women's Centre of the Qatar Foundation, which encourages women to take an active role in society. It was set up at a time when the social situation in Qatar has started to change and women have been exercising their rights more assertively and seeking opportunities for personal and professional development with a vision of promoting gender equality, empowerment and social justice.