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At their meeting in Sopot, Poland, the European Union’s foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in Libya and the Middle East


No. 284-E

The foreign ministers said it was necessary to effect a complete transfer of authority and governance to the National Transitional Council and to start the democratic process. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said it was important to establish a lasting peace in Libya. “The NATO operation and the UN-led international mission in Libya must continue as long as needed until peace is secure. Yet only the Libyans themselves can lead the transition,“ he said. Paet said that to support rebuilding in Libya, the European Union should focus on resolving the humanitarian issues, security sector reforms (police and border guard) and reducing illegal arms. The EU can also contribute to economic development and fostering the rule of law in Libya,” said Paet.

The foreign ministers also discussed matters related to the Middle Eastern peace process. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said Israel and Palestine must resume their talks. “It is important to find a common language for starting the talks and with regard to topics to be covered at the talks,” he added.

A propos of developments in Syria, the European Union’s foreign ministers said the authorities there must immediately cease violent action against protesters. Paet added that Syria has to start real political reforms that would address the needs and demands of the Syrian people. “The European Union has expanded its anti-Syrian sanctions. Syria’s domestic dialogue must include all groups in society and it is also important to ensure protection for minorities. The EU is monitoring developments and is ready to provide consultation to the opposition,” he said.

Paet is taking part at the unofficial meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers in Sopot. The so-called Gymnich meetings take place twice a year, in March and September. The meetings are named after the Gymnich castle near Bonn where the first such meeting took place.

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