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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in the Name of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia: We Recognise the Syrian National Opposition Coalition as Legitimate Representatives of the Syrian People

12.12.2012

At a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Friends of Syria group in Marrakech today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the Nordic and Baltic countries recognise the National Coalition of Syrian Opposition and Revolution Forces as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people and are prepared to provide support for the coalition.

Paet stated that it is of utmost importance that the Coalition achieves broad support for its activities both in Syria and abroad. “We encourage the coalition to continue with preparations for the transition to a new and democratic Syria where everybody’s rights and freedoms are respected. The transition has already started in some parts of the country,” stated Paet. “We will provide support for civil society organisations that commit themselves to democratic and human rights principles and stress their importance for the political transition,” he added.

The ongoing violence and the suffering and loss of life it has caused are utterly unacceptable, emphasised Foreign Minister Paet. “The Nordic and Baltic countries continue to condemn in the strongest possible terms the widespread military attacks by the regime against its own people. The UN Security Council must overcome their differences and send an unequivocal message to the Syrian regime that its killing of its own people and destruction of the country will not be tolerated by the international community and that the Security Council can refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court at any time. The use of cluster munitions and aerial bombardments against innocent civilians is inexcusable,” said Paet. “Gross human rights violations must not go unpunished – the perpetrators must be held responsible,” he added.

The Nordic and Baltic countries expressed their complete support for the work of the Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States Lakhdar Brahimi and encourage the Coalition to engage with him fully. “Only a political solution that preserves the sovereignty and unity of the country can lay the foundation for lasting peace and satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people to freedom and democracy,” Paet stated.

The Nordic and Baltic countries also call on the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and allow humanitarian aid quick and unhindered access to those in need while also guaranteeing the safety of humanitarian aid workers. “We will continue to provide aid through the ICRC, the UN, relief agencies, and other organisations in order to reach the people suffering in Syria as well as the refugees who have fled to the neighbouring countries. We are also ready to co-operate with the coalition,” Paet added.

Nearly three million people have been forced to leave their homes and over 40 000 have been killed. “If the violence in Syria does not stop, there is a danger that it will affect the entire region,” Paet emphasised.

Full text of Foreign Minister’s speech: http://www.vm.ee/?q=node/16086

 

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