Slovak foreign minister to resign after MPs reject migrant pact

FILE PHOTO: Miroslav Lajcak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia attends a news conference after the Strategic Dialogue of the Western Balkans meeting in Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak has decided to resign in protest at parliament’s decision on Thursday to reject a U.N. pact on the treatment of migrants, his ministry said.

Lajcak was President of the United Nations General Assembly when the migration pact was adopted and had earlier threatened to quit if his country did not support it.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member U.N. nations except the United States, which backed out last year, and is due to be ratified formally in December.

“Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak has decided, following today’s vote (in parliament)... to resign,” the ministry said, adding details will follow after Lajcak meets Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and President Andrej Kiska.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini has said his government would “never” accept the pact because of its take on migration as a generally positive phenomenon, which contradicts Slovakia’s will to distinguish among the migrants.

Besides Bratislava, other European Union members like Austria, Hungary or the Czech Republic shunned the pact, while Switzerland delayed its decision.

The pact was conceived after the biggest influx of migrants into Europe since World War Two, many fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.

Reporting by Robert Muller and Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg