Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: European Union’s First Priority is Ending Violence in Northern Africa and Middle East
During their meeting in Brussels today, the European Union foreign ministers supported the idea of opening a European Union representation in Benghazi, Libya in order to better co-ordinate future steps and to pressure Syria and Yemen to put an end to the violence. The foreign ministers also confirmed their continuing support for Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries in the region as they move towards democracy.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the international community’s ongoing consensus regarding the situation in Libya and the resignation of Gadhafi is important. “The main concerns are a quick end to the violence and humanitarian aid reaching those in need,” he added. Paet asserted that opening a European Union representation in Benghazi is an important step that would demonstrate the European Union’s desire to make a contribution in its nearby neighbourhood.
The foreign minister noted that protecting the rights of civilians and improving the humanitarian situation in Libya is extremely important to Estonia. The humanitarian situation is still cause for concern and Estonia has decided to donate 50 000 euros in food aid to victims of the conflict.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the European Union foreign ministers agree that support for Egypt and Tunisia will continue as the countries move towards democracy and develop their civil societies. “The European Union is concerned about the religion-based bursts of violence in Egypt—a solution should be found to avoid future conflicts,” said Paet.
“As it supports the development of Northern African and Middle Eastern countries, it is important that the European Union also open up its market to these countries more,” Paet added.
The European Union foreign ministers also addressed the situation that has developed in Camp Ashrat, a camp for Iranian refugees in Iraq, and violence against refugees. “The situation in Camp Ashrat requires rapid intervention by the European Union and the rest of the international community so that further violence may be prevented,” said Paet.
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