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Foreign Minister Paet: Estonia Supports Independence of Southern Sudan


No. 222-E

Prior to Southern Sudan becoming independent on 9 July, the most important thing is to restore peace and resolve troublesome issues between Northern and Southern Sudan, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said today at the meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

The European Union must continue to intermediate negotiations to achieve fulfilment of the peace treaty between Northern and Southern Sudan and help support the peaceful creation of Southern Sudan’s statehood, said Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. “After Southern Sudan’s independence is declared, Estonia is ready to recognise Southern Sudan as an independent republic and establish diplomatic relations,” he noted.

Paet said that in the past month relations between Northern and Southern Sudan have once again become aggravated. “Gunfire has been exchanged in the border areas many times and hundreds have been killed; over 40 000 people have fled their homes due to the armed conflict,” Paet explained. During the past week Northern Sudan has organised many air strikes against Southern Sudanese forces.

Both the European Union and the USA have appealed to both sides to stop the attacks and continue with peaceful talks. The Estonian foreign minister said that the humanitarian and security situation is especially poor in the border areas and in Southern Sudan and that the distribution of humanitarian aid is hindered by the conflicts. “However, the European Union has prepared a strategy for future activity and for distributing development aid in both Northern and Southern Sudan,” he stated. Paet added that providing humanitarian aid to civilians is one of the first priorities.

Estonia also supports opening a European Union representation in the capital of Southern Sudan, Juba.

The peace treaty concluded in 2005 foresaw that an independence referendum would be carried out for Southern Sudan. The referendum took place in January 2011 and as a result Southern Sudan will become independent on 9 July.

Additional information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

+372 637 7654


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