Monday, 2 Aug 2021 - 24 of Av, 5781
EU

Slovenian Prime Minister Jansa’s remarks on human rights violations in Iran drew reaction from EU’s Borrell

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Janez Jansa told a conference that the “Iranian people deserve democracy, freedom and human rights and should be firmly supported by the international community.”

He also referred to Amnesty International’s demands to investigate the new Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi over his alleged involvement in the executions. “For nearly 33 years, the world had forgotten about the victims of the massacre. This should change,” he said.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that Jansa may hold the rotating EU Council presidency but he “does not represent” the EU in foreign policy.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has declared that ‘’the Iranian regime must be held accountable for human rights violations,” a statement that drew a reaction from EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Slovenia holds the six-month EU presidency since July 1st.

Jansa was addressing a Free Iran World Summit organized by the Iranian opposition movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Jansa told the conference that the “Iranian people deserve democracy, freedom and human rights and should be firmly supported by the international community.”

The Slovenian Prime Minister also referred to Amnesty International’s demands to investigate the new Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi over his alleged involvement in the executions. “For nearly 33 years, the world had forgotten about the victims of the massacre. This should change,” Jansa said.

In a reaction, Borrell said that Jansa may hold the rotating EU Council presidency but he “does not represent” the EU in foreign policy. Jansa’s statements also sparked tensions with Iran.

Borrell said that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had called him  to ask “if the declarations of the Slovenian prime minister represent the official position of the European Union, given that there had been a certain confusion related to the fact that Slovenia is currently the country holding the rotating presidency of the Council.”

The EU foreign policy representative said he told Zarif that “in our institutional setting, the position of a Prime Minister — even if he’s from the country that holds the rotating Council presidency — does not represent the position of the European Union.”

He added that only the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, could represent the EU at the level of heads of state and government.

“Foreign policy remains a competency of EU member states and each member state can have the opinion that it sees fit for each issue of international politics. … For me it’s only up to say whether Jansa’s position represents the European Union. And certainly it does not,” Borrell said.

Borrell also said that the EU had “a balanced position” on Iran “that puts political pressure when it’s considered necessary, in many areas, and at the same time looks for cooperation when it is necessary.”

The EU is currently working as coordinator to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

A spokesperson of the Slovenian representation to the EU, quoted by Politico.eu, said that “Slovenia has no intention whatsoever of getting involved in Iran’s internal affairs.’’ He added however that Slovenia “always advocates for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is in line with our values and legislation.”

Slovenia is considered as a pro-Israel country within the European Union. The country made a sharp U-turn in recent years as one of the one former Soviet bloc country in the EU that consistently voted against Israel in the UN. Slovenia nearly recognized a Palestinian state in 2014, but in the end the parliament opted to just call on the government to do so.

Jansa’s party, in the opposition at the time, was the only one to oppose supporting a Palestinian state.

Slovenia took two a pro-Israel actions when it changed its annual vote from abstention to opposition on a UN General Assembly resolution extending the tenure of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat.

Contrary to the EU which has banned only the so-called ‘’military wing’’ of Hezbollah, Slovenia declared the whole Lebanese organisation a “criminal and terrorist organization that represents a threat to peace and security.”

During Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas, the Israeli flag was raised on official buildings in Slovenia in a sign of “solidarity” with the Jewish state. “In a sign of solidarity, we flew the Israeli flag on the government building,” the Slovene government said in a tweet with a photo of the standard.

“We condemn the terrorist attacks and stand with Israel,” it said.

 

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