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The prompt achievement of peace in Syria and the Central African Republic is very important to Estonia

14.02.2014

In meeting with UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Eliasson and UN Deputy Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet spoke of the situation in Syria and the Central African Republic.

Paet stated that Estonia will assess Syria's preparedness to negotiate bilaterally in relation to the Geneva II Conference to end conflict. “Initial agreements to alleviate the catastrophic humanitarian situation must be fully implemented and access to humanitarian aid ensured,” Paet emphasized. "In order to ensure this, the clear goal of a cessation of fighting must be set," he added.

According to foreign minister Paet, Estonia decided to support alleviating the situation of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with 200 000 euros in February. In total, as of today, Estonia has supported the improvement of the humanitarian situation of refugees in Syria with nearly a million euros and also has been among the first to support efforts to destroy chemical weapons with 50 000 euros. “We expect serious efforts on the part of the Syrian government in transporting the chemical weapon stockpiles out of the country in a safe and timely manner, and we hope that despite the delay, the final deadline will be met,” Paet said.

Speaking on the topic of the Central African Republic, foreign minister Paet said that Estonia considers the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council at the end of January to be positive. Among other things, the resolution provides the basis for sending a European Union peace support mission to the Central African Republic. “Since there will soon be three different military operations in action in the Central African Republic at the same time, then coordination of activities is crucial,” the Estonian foreign minister said.

The UN has sent its peacebuilding unit (BINUCA) to the Central African Republic, whose mission is to support the country's democratic institution-building and national reconciliation. A UN Security Council resolution extended the unit’s mandate until the end of January 2015.

In January, Estonia supported the alleviation of the situation of internally displaced people in the Central African Republic by allocating 50 000 euros to both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC ) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Internet freedom was also a topic of discussion at the meeting with UN Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson, including events at the upcoming Internet freedom conference in Tallinn the end of April. Foreign Minister Paet invited the Deputy Secretary General of the UN to attend the conference.

In his speech made at the UN Commission for Social Development, foreign minister Paet emphasized the importance of access to education. “Access to education will help reduce the use of child labour, recruitment of child soldiers and forced marriages and also help to curb sexual violence. The role of education in combating poverty is also relevant,” he said. Paet added that in the 21 century, it is also important to put every possible technological development to use in the improvement of human life.

“With the help of new technologies, more people can be involved in decision-making and living conditions can be improved,” he said. He added that Estonia is prepared to share its e-governance experience with all countries interested in e-solutions.

 

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