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Estonia Wants For Serbia to Receive EU Candidate Country Status in February

24.01.2012

No. 15-E

At today’s European Union Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Serbia receiving EU candidate country status was discussed, it was decided to implement additional sanctions against Iran, the status of the Middle East peace process was addressed, and the situations in Syria, Burma/Myanmar, and Belarus were discussed.

Estonian Ambassador to the EU Matti Maasikas, who represented Estonia at the council, stated that progress in European Union enlargement depends on all the parties involved making an effort and adhering to the requirements they have agreed to fulfil. “We value Serbia’s success in carrying out reforms and feel that it is time for the European Union to take a step and grant candidate country status to Serbia at the General Affairs Council in February. By doing so, we would recognise Serbia’s progress on its path to Europe, plus the timing takes into consideration the European-mindedness of Serbia’s current government,” Maasikas explained. “However, repairing relations with Kosovo is still a prerequisite—we expect the European Union-mediated dialogue between the two countries to continue,” he added.

In relation to the Middle East peace process, Estonia supports sending a strong message to both sides. Israel and Palestine must both fulfil the obligations they have accepted and continue with negotiations in order to achieve a solution that corresponds to the schedule established by the Diplomatic Quartet. Estonia recognises the efforts of Jordan in promoting the negotiations between Israel and Palestine and feels that it is necessary for the European Union to strongly support Jordan as a mediator.

While discussing Syria it was stated that the situation there is still worrisome. Possibilities for the European Union to change the situation were discussed. The killings must end and humanitarian aid must become more accessible. The European Union condemns Bashar al-Assad’s regime and supports the role of the Arab League in resolving the crisis. The European Union must also continue to apply pressure to Syria.

In contrast, developments in Burma/Myanmar have actually been for the better. The opposition party is being allowed to participate in elections and some political prisoners have been freed. Therefore at today’s European Union Foreign Affairs Council, the EU decided to lessen restrictive measures and be ready to review sanctions as well.

The complicated political and human rights situation in Belarus was also briefly addressed. “The European Union must continue its double-sided policy, which places restrictive sanctions in order to influence the regime while also supporting the democratic forces in Belarus,” stated Matti Maasikas. Belarus is a concern not only the European Union but also for our eastern neighbours, which is why the EU should also address this situation together with its Eastern Partners. An official discussion on Belarus will take place at the next session of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Additional information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee
www.vm.ee
 

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