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Estonia Feels It Is Essential to Alleviate Humanitarian Crisis in Syria


15 October 2012

The international community must give multi-faceted support to the countries accepting Syrian refugees, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised at the meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has risen to 2.5 million, of whom 1.5 million are internally displaced refugees in Syria. Three million people could require food aid in the near future. “Over 300 000 refugees have fled to neighbouring countries - nearly 100 000 to Jordan and Turkey, 80 000 to Lebanon, and almost 30 000 to Iraq. Of the refugees, 75% are women and children,” he added.

According to the Estonian foreign minister, the number of war refugees in Syria’s neighbouring states could reach 700 000 by the end of the year. “We must demand that the parties to the conflict allow humanitarian aid to reach people unhindered and ensure the safety of the humanitarian workers,” Paet stated. “Estonia has supported Syrian refugees with 150 000 euros,” he noted.

Paet said that in order to resolve the Syrian conflict it is essential to end the violence and work towards a cease-fire and political transition.
Estonia supports the work of the new Special Representative of the UN and Arab League Lakhdar Brahimi. Foreign Minister Paet said that the UN Security Council should continue to work with all its partners to place pressure on the Syrian regime and and move towards finding a diplomatic solution. “We are prepared to continue supporting the presence of the UN in Syria, which would help support a peaceful transition in the country,” Paet confirmed. “Estonia welcomes the UN’s decision to extend the mandate of the UN’s independent commission of inquiry investigating war crimes in Syria,” he added. “It is vital to get the Syrian authorities to co-operate with the commission and allow the commission into the country,” said the foreign minister.

When talking about the situation in the European Union’s southern neighbourhood, the foreign ministers also addressed developments in Egypt and the Middle East. It is important to Estonia that the democratisation process in Egypt continues and the government is successful in carrying out the necessary reforms for improving the security and economic situation.

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



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