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Strengthening Human Rights Aspect in European Union Foreign Policy Important to Estonia

25.06.2012

No. 182-E

At their meeting today in Luxembourg, the European Union foreign ministers condemned the shooting of a Turkish military plane by Syria. In addition to events in the European Union’s southern neighbourhood in Syria and Egypt, the situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, and Pakistan were also discussed, as was the human rights aspect in the EU’s foreign policy.

Ambassador to the European Union Matti Maasikas, who represented Estonia at the meeting, recognised Bosnia and Herzegovina for its recent progress in state governance and expressed hope that Montenegro’s successful integration experience with the European Union would serve as an example and inspiration. “Estonia is satisfied with the work of European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Peter Sörensen. Strengthening the European Union’s presence would give the country positive motivation for the future and support its integration with Europe,” Ambassador Maasikas added.

In the discussion on making the human rights-related activities in the European Union’s common foreign policy stronger and more effective, Ambassador Maasikas emphasised internet freedom. “The importance of internet freedom in the European Union’s foreign activities has grown steadily and Estonia, as a successful IT state, holds the right to freedom of digital expression very dear,” said Maasikas. Since it is a candidate to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the strengthening of the human rights dimension in EU foreign policy and the European Union Human Rights Strategy that was approved today are extremely important for Estonia.

The ministers all condemned the downing of a Turkish military fighter jet by the Syrian army and expressed concern over the continuing violence in Syria. Clashes between the Syrian armed forces and opposition forces are regrettable and mass killings unacceptable, and both sides must end the violence against their own people. The work of the UN monitoring mission is important to Estonia, as is an ongoing presence in Syria. The monitoring mission involves close to 300 military observers from 61 countries, including one Estonian Defence Forces member.

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

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee
www.vm.ee

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