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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: International Community Must Do Everything Possible to End Massacre in Syria

10.09.2012

No 314-E

Today in Cyprus Foreign Minister Urmas Paet discussed the situation in Syria with the other European Union foreign ministers. “The international community must do everything possible to end the violence in Syria. By now 28 000 people have died and there are 2.5 million people in need of aid,” he said.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that we must focus on working actively in many areas. “It is important to achieve a political solution; it is also necessary to work more effectively to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and help refugees. Investigations should also begin into possible crimes against humanity and violations of human rights committed during the conflict,” said Paet.

At their meeting, the EU foreign ministers once again sharply condemned the continuation of violence in Syria. “Also alarming is the potential spreading of the crisis to Syria’s neighbouring countries, first and foremost Lebanon. The large number of refugees also affects Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq,” he added. Therefore, Paet stated, it is crucial to achieve a complete stop to the armed activity in Syria. “In addition to achieving a cease-fire, progress must be made in forming a transitional government for Syria, which is why the international community must call even more strongly for Syria to join the opposition,” he said.

Over the past 18 months, 28 000 people have been killed in Syria. The number of those requiring aid has risen to 2.5 million; 1.2 million of these are internally displaced persons. People who have fled to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey number 235 000. “The warring parties must immediately allow for an armistice in the crisis areas so that humanitarian aid could reach those in need,” said the foreign minister. Paet added that it is essential that the international community continue to help the people of Syria. “Estonia has also helped to alleviate the situation of those who have suffered in the Syria conflict,” he said.

Paet also said it is regrettable that the UN Security Council has not managed to reach a consensus on pressuring the Syrian regime. “As an EU member state, Estonia has supported implementing additional restrictive measures against the Syrian regime,” Paet said, adding that if the conflict continues the international community must be prepared to consider the implementation of additional sanctions.

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