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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: UN Security Council Must Ensure Destruction of Syria’s Chemical Weapons


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When speaking about Syria at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers which took place in the framework of the opening week of the UN General Assembly in New York, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia considers prompt and successful implementation of the agreement on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons to be important. “For the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons to proceed without hindrance, a strict UN Security Council resolution which addresses non-compliance is necessary,” noted Paet.

Syria has agreed to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal by mid-2014. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has a central supervisory role, but guaranteeing it requires the mentioned UN Security Council resolution. “It is important that chemical weapons experts and humanitarian workers are able to do their jobs in Syria without being obstructed,” said the Estonian foreign minister.

According to Paet, the use of a chemical weapon is a very serious violation of international law. “The perpetrators of the crime must be punished according to international law,” stated Paet. “The International Criminal Court must prosecute them,” he stressed.

Estonia has always taken the position that a lasting peace in Syria can only be accomplished by a political agreement, confirmed Paet.

Paet says that a UN Security Council resolution that addresses the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria, especially the millions of refugees, is also necessary.

The foreign ministers of the European Union member states also spoke about Iran at their meeting in New York. According to Paet, Estonia supports the efforts to reach a political solution in the nuclear negotiations. “Hopefully the new Iranian leaders are ready to consider the need for changes,” he stated.

Paet asserts that the Iranian nuclear program continues to be worrying. “The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) negotiations with Iran taking place on 27 September will demonstrate whether Iran is ready for concrete steps towards resolving the situation,” added Paet.

Today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet will give a speech at an event focused on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), which is held in the framework of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Paet will also speak today at an meeting that is occurring as a result of cooperation between Finland, Liberia, and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWOMEN).

Furthermore, Foreign Minister Paet is scheduled to participate in the discussion at an event about the fight against illegal arms trafficking that is organized by Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya, and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the foreign minister will meet with the International Crisis Group’s President and Chief Executive Officer Louise Arbour. He will also meet with Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Edward Natapei to enter into diplomatic relations between the two states.


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