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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet to the Riigikogu: Ukrainian society needs understanding, help and support from Estonia and all of Europe


In his speech given to the Riigikogu today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the only thing that will heal Ukrainian society is the gradual recovery of confidence in politics and politicians.

The rapid formation of a new government and clear goal of extraordinary free elections in Ukraine is elementary, but this alone is not enough to reduce tensions," Paet noted. “What are needed are rapid and bona fide reforms that will truly strengthen the rule of law, reduce corruption, ensure the functioning of a market economy and strengthen civil society – all of this together should increase confidence in the overall functioning of the state and society,” he added.

According to Paet, the European Union and its members need to express clear support for Ukraine based on the principle of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. “Support can be practical – both in the form of experts and reform experience, or political – being willing to step up EU-Ukraine relations, keeping an eye out for a clear European perspective, and also economic – by being prepared to provide Ukraine with financial support along with clear reform programs, in order to prevent the country's economic collapse,” Paet emphasized in the Riigikogu.

Paet expressed hope that the majority of Ukrainian society and its leaders unequivocally understand that a free, democratic and corruption-free country should be the goal, and that achieving this is a prerequisite for Ukraine’s security and well-being. “The European perspective, as well as its being stated by the EU to Ukraine and all the Eastern European transition societies, is essential –just as it is, for example, for the Western Balkan countries,” he noted.

Estonia has supported the democratic development of Ukraine for many years, and is willing to continue to do so. “The Ukrainian people deserve to live in a strong democratic state based on the rule of law,” Paet said. Recalling his recent visit to Ukraine and conversation with the doctor in charge of volunteer first aid providers Olga Bogomolets, Paet remembers Bogomolets’ conviction that Ukraine's future normal development is only possible if the government does not simply bring the current opposition to power, but it is also accompanied by real changes toward freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. According to Bogomolets, Ukraine praises Estonia's aid experience highly.

In addition to Ukraine, other countries of the EU's Eastern Partnership are also awaiting concrete steps, Paet noted. “The EU must conclude the association and free-trade agreements with Moldova and Georgia this year, and decide on the issue of visa-free travel for citizens of Moldova,” he said. He added that the foreign ministry has recently decided to send a permanent Estonian diplomat to Moldova.

“Given the circumstances, specific cooperation opportunities must also be found for Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus, ranging from visa facilitation to all other manner of practical cooperation,” Paet said.

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