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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in Helsinki: Further Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria Must Be Prevented



Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said today, in a conversation in Helsinki with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja about the extremely tragic situation in Syria, that outside military intervention there is the last option and possibility.

“All such conflicts can only be solved with political agreements, but it is clear that in two and a half years these political and diplomatic efforts haven’t brought us anywhere. But they must be continued. At the same time, another use of a chemical weapon must be prevented,” he stressed. “The use of a chemical weapon, regardless of circumstances, is shameful and completely inadmissible and Estonia has explicitly denounced the brutal attack against civilians in Syria,” said Paet. He added that Estonia continues to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.

Paet and Tuomioja stressed that in Egypt, it is essential to prevent the further spread of violence. According to the Estonian foreign minister, all conflicting sides must make efforts in the name of a peaceful solution. “It necessary to involve all political factions in dialogue and in the process of restoring democratic institutions,” he said. The foreign ministers agreed that it is necessary to continue the dialogue between the European Union and the government of Egypt.

When speaking of bilateral relations, the foreign ministers expressed content about the strengthening of the special relationship between Estonia and Finland. “Our economic spaces are very interconnected, as characterized by the large interstate cooperation projects in the fields of transport and energy,” emphasized Paet. Finland continues to be Estonia’s most important economic partner, and trade with Finland constitutes slightly more than 16% of all Estonian trade.

In the near future, important topics between Estonia and Finland will be the construction of Estlink 2, Rail Baltic, and cooperation in cyber security. Also, the exchange of e-data between Estonia and Finland is progressing successfully; a pilot project has been undertaken for the exchange of tax certificates. “In the long run, Estonia and Finland have a good opportunity to provide an example to the European Union of cross-border services and the creation of a common information space. With such functional solutions, we can speed up the development of a common European digital market,” said Paet.

The foreign ministers also found that, among the various cooperation formats in the Baltic Sea region, the Baltic Sea council and Nordic-Baltic cooperation occupy important positions. “The Baltic Sea region’s cooperation formats could be more visible, the division of roles more clear, and its activity more coordinated,” said Paet. For Estonia, 2014 is Baltic Sea year for Estonia, because Estonia will be leading Baltic cooperation, Nordic-Baltic cooperation, and, beginning in July 2014, the Baltic Sea Council as well.




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