Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: International Community Must Give Refugees of Syria Conflict Stronger Support Than Before


No 27-E

At the meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the international community must provide stronger support than before to Syrian refugees and to the countries that have put forth a great deal of effort to receive them.

Paet stated that 60 000 people have already died as a result of the Syria crisis and at least 2.5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. There are also nearly 4 million internally displaced persons. “According to the UN, there is a total of 700 000 Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt, and within the first half of 2013 the number will reach one million,” said the Estonian foreign minister.

Paet stated that the refugees’ situation is extremely difficult and the help of the international community is vital.

Estonia has donated 150 000 euros to support Syrian refugees in Jordan, where there are already over 300 000 refugees, as well as  70 000 euros to support Syrian refugees in Turkey, 50 000 to the UN Emergency Response Fund for Syria, and 50 000 euros to support the humanitarian aid operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria.

Foreign Minister Paet noted that we strongly condemn the attacks of the Syrian regime against its own people and that in addition to ending the violence, it is essential to achieve a cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government in Syria. “We support the work of the European Union in resolving the crisis and in putting pressure on the Syrian regime in the name of finding a diplomatic solution,” he stated.

Paet said that the European Union must continue its partnership and co-operation with countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

“However, the European Union must insist that changes in these societies do not bring about universal violations of human rights, including restrictions on the rights of women and children,” he added.

The Estonian foreign minister feels that the European Union’s role in supporting the construction and democratisation endeavours of the Arab Spring countries is great and Estonia feels that supporting these countries is an important measure of the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy, the implementation of which must be based on the success of carrying out reforms and democratisation in concrete countries. “Financial aid from the European Union must be strongly conditional,” he emphasised.

The ministers also discussed recent developments in Egypt and Paet noted that we must ensure that the Egyptian leadership carries out its reform promises, especially in the areas of improving the investment environment, ensuring human rights and basic freedoms for all groups of society, and involving civil society in political and economic life.

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

+372 637 7654



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