Estonia is interested in expanding its participation in UN peacekeeping operations in the next few years, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said during his meeting in New York with UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous. “Estonia has long-term experience participating in the operations of the European Union and NATO, and in the near future we would like to expand our participation in UN operations as well,” Paet noted.
Paet stated that Estonia has participated in UN peacekeeping missions since 1997 and is currently contributing two military observers. “We are currently participating in the UN’s military supervision mission in the Middle East UNTSO and the Syrian supervision mission UNSMIS,” Paet said. “However, by the year 2016 we would like to increase the number of observers to five, participating in up to three different operations,” he added.
At their meeting, Paet and Ladsous also spoke about the ever-worsening situation in Syria. The head of UN peacekeeping operations gave an overview of his recent visit to Syria. “The situation in Syria is extremely alarming – a political solution is needed,” Ladsous said.
Ladsous thanked Estonia for contributing to the UNSMIS supervision mission in Syria.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised the UN’s leading role and responsibility for finding a solution to end the violence in Syria. “The crimes against the people of Syria must stop. By now the conflict has touched the lives of over two million people,” said Paet. “We support the efforts of the UN and the Arab League to end the civil war,” he added.
Paet said that Estonia will continue to contribute a soldier to the UNSMIS supervision mission in Syria in accordance with the mandate of the UN Security Council.