April 14. 2024. 6:54

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Motion to declare Russia a sponsor of terrorism voted down in Slovenia

The proposal for a resolution that would recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism tabled by the opposition Democrats was voted down by parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee on Tuesday even though the European Parliament passed a similar resolution last year.

Instead of backing the motion for the resolution, the committee unanimously backed coalition-sponsored conclusions condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine and called on the government to continue to provide aid and assistance to Kyiv.

It also called on the government to advocate a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and backed its efforts for an independent investigation of war crimes in Ukraine.

The Democrats who tabled the proposal argued that by adopting the resolution, Slovenia would condemn Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian civilians, civilian buildings and key energy infrastructure.

“We would show our support for the Ukrainian nation that is displaying incredible courage in defending its homeland and fighting for the universal values of freedom and democracy, and at the same time condemn the Russian invasion,” they said.

The committee’s vote was expected, however, as the ruling coalition rejected the proposal as soon as it was tabled. Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said any initiative to put Russia on a list of countries sponsoring terrorism would be tantamount to punishing the entire Russian nation.

The Foreign Ministry resorted to a legal interpretation saying there is no category or list of countries that support terrorism in either European or Slovenian legislation. Only seven EU member states have adopted such resolutions so far and even the US, which has a legal basis to do so, has not adopted a resolution to that effect.

According to the Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary Samuel Žbogar, branding Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism would in legal terms lead to a reduction of Russia’s responsibility, because it would reclassify its actions from the most serious international crime, that is aggression, to the lower category of terrorism.

The opposition called the Foreign Ministry’s policy “lukewarm” and Democrat MP Anže Logar, a former foreign minister, argued that diplomatic pressure on Russia should be stepped up just like sanctions.

“Whatever the vote will be, it will be noticed both in Kyiv and in Moscow,” Democrat leader Janez Janša said.

(Sebastijan R. Maček | sta.si)