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Foreign Ministers Paet and Tuomioja: Estonia and Finland Mourn Together With Norway


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During their meeting in Tallinn today, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja expressed profound condolences to the people of Norway over yesterday’s tragic events. “This is a tragedy for Norway as well as all of Norway’s friends. Estonia and Finland are mourning together with Norwegian society,” said Paet and Tuomioja.

Paet stated that Estonia is feeling the pain of yesterday’s events along with Norway. “The murder of at least 90 people at the youth camp and in Oslo is a shocking and brutal crime that has deeply affected Estonian society as well,” he said.

Paet and Tuomioja expressed condolences to the loved ones of those killed in Norway. “The explosion in Oslo and the shooting of people at the youth camp on the island of Utøya are grave crimes for which there is no justification,” the foreign ministers said.

During their meeting in Tallinn Paet and Tuomioja also talked about the development of Estonia-Finland relations. Among the areas in which Estonia would like to develop co-operation with Finland are the defence and security policy sectors, including cyber security. “The Estonian Embassy is the NATO contact embassy in Helsinki for 2011-2012,” Paet stated. “Finland has also contributed to the creation of the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership, and the members of our defence forces work together in the Nordic Battle Group,” said Paet, naming examples of Estonia and Finland’s joint activities. Finland is one of Estonia’s most important trade partners and Estonia is the most important target market of Finland’s tourism economy.

Paert said that Estonia is prepared to offer Finland a chance to share embassy space in Minsk. Estonia represents Finland for the issuing of Schengen visas in Minsk and Pskov. The foreign ministers also discussed Estonia-Finland co-operation in education and research, environmental protection, and the cultural sector.

In talking about Nordic-Baltic co-operation, Paet noted that Estonia and Finland’s co-operation is made special by the fact that the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Estonia’s independence will be celebrated together in August. “For example, on 30 August a foreign ministers’ conference dedicated to the relations of the Nordic and Baltic nations will take place in Helsinki,” Paet stated.

This year Estonia is the leader of Baltic co-operation and Finland the head of co-operation among the Nordic and Baltic countries (NB8). “The topics that are most important to us are security, energy, and matters related to the economy and environment,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

International developments discussed by the Estonian and Finnish foreign ministers included the situation in Northern Africa and the Middle East as well as the transfer of responsibility for security from the international community to the Afghan authorities.

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