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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Estonia is Interested in Intensifying IT-Related Co-operation With Arab Countries

15.11.2012

No 405-E

At a meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union and Arab League countries in Cairo today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that closer co-operation between European and Arab countries is necessary for both sides. “It is essential that Arab countries continue making change that are based on the principle of rule of law,” he stated.

Paet said that information and communication technology play a vital role in the democratisation of societies. “Estonia is prepared to share its experiences – this is why we would like to increase our IT-related co-operation with Arab countries,” emphasised the foreign minister.

Paet added that Estonia has already taken the first steps in working together with Arab countries in the IT sector. “For example, we share our experiences related to e-government with Qatar and Tunisia and are interested in co-operating with Egypt as well,” he said.

The foreign minister also emphasised that in addition to concrete co-operation projects we must work to decrease the digital divide that exists between European and Arab countries. “This is the goal we are trying to achieve through the consultation project for new democracies and their leaders LEND (Leaders Engaged in New Democracies). Estonia is the chairman of this initiative together with the United States,” Paet said, adding that the purpose of LEND is to support modernisation and democratisation in transitioning states and share our reform and e-state experiences.

The goal of the meeting of the European Union and Arab League foreign ministers taking place in Cairo today is to discuss opportunities to improve and intensify co-operation between European and Arab countries. This is the second meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union and Arab League; the first meeting took place in 2008 in Malta.

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