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Estonian Foreign Minister and French Minister for European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez Discuss Situation in Lebanon

17.06.2011

Nr 217-E

During his meeting today with French Minister for European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet recognised the close defence-related co-operation between Estonia and France. “A defence co-operation agreement between our governments will be signed very soon, and France is already participating for the third time in the policing of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s airspace. In addition, an Estonian vessel protection detachment has been participating in the European Union operation ATALANTA on board a French ship since May of this year,” said the foreign minister.

When talking with Wauquiez, Paet acknowledged the good co-operation that has taken place in the search for the Estonian citizens abducted in Lebanon.

Foreign Minister Paet expressed satisfaction over the fact that France represents Estonia on the basis of visa representation agreements in many countries. “France issues visas for travel to Estonia in 15 countries mostly in Africa and Asia, including Lebanon. This puts it in first place among the countries representing Estonia,” said the foreign minister.

In talking about European Union Neighbourhood Policy, Foreign Minister Paet expressed his certainty that it is now necessary to tailor Neighbourhood Policy to suit the new situation, basing it on partner countries’ needs and preparation and taking into account the pivotal events taking place in the European Union’s southern neighbourhood. “The new approach must be based on mutual responsibility and answer to the partner countries’ ambitions. The most important thing is to promote democracy and support economic development,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

Foreign Minister Paet and Minister for European Affairs Wauquiez also talked about European Union enlargement. Foreign Minister Paet expressed hope that negotiations with Croatia would be concluded soon. “This would give a positive signal to the remaining Western Balkan nations,” noted the foreign minister. Paet added that Estonia feels it is important to strengthen foreign political dialogue with Turkey.

During their meeting the ministers also talked about the establishment of the agency for IT systems. Foreign Minister Paet thanked France for its support for Estonia in gaining observer status in the International Francophone Organisation.

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