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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Chemical Weapons Destruction Process Cannot Overshadow Ending Syria’s Humanitarian Tragedy


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Speaking about Syria at today’s meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union member states in Luxembourg, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stressed that the main issue is still finding a solution to end the Syrian civil war. “The number of refugees and casualties is rising constantly, and the approaching winter will make the refugees’ situation even more difficult. The immigration pressure on Europe will also increase,” he added.

The foreign ministers of EU member states stressed the need to quickly and completely destroy the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. “Estonia supports the activity of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with 50,000 Euros,” said Urmas Paet. According to Foreign Minister Paet, at this moment it is important that all sides in Syria allow the international experts to do their jobs without obstruction.

“The increasing radicalisation and worsening of the humanitarian situation in Syria also affects the stability of the neighbouring states,” stated Paet. For its part, Estonia allocated 250,000 Euros in September to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in order to contribute to solving the constantly growing refugee problem and to aid Syrian refugees in Turkey and Iraq.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council also discussed the situation in Egypt, where the primary objective is still to prevent further violence and attempt to include all sides into the political process. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s assessment is that it is important for the interim government to ensure the protection of all of the rights and freedoms of Egypt’s inhabitants, including the right to a fair trial. “To avoid the further cleavage of Egyptian society, it is important to support the initiation of a broad-based political dialogue that is as inclusive as possible,” acknowledged Foreign Minister Paet. The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton provided the foreign ministers with an overview of her meeting with the different sides in Cairo, which took place in the beginning of August.

Speaking about the developments in Libya, where both the political and the security situations have worsened recently, the foreign ministers discussed the European Union’s possibilities for supporting Libya.

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Marika Post
Spokesperson, Permanent Representation of Estonia at the EU
+32 474 981 657


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