Foreign Minister Paet: Fight Against Piracy on Somalian Coast is Important Mission for European Union


No. 395-E

During the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, the European Union foreign ministers addressed the battle against piracy off the coast of Somalia. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the fight against piracy is part of the comprehensive strategy to stabilise Somalia.

“Estonia was one of the first nations who called for starting an organised fight against piracy, and we are pleased that the European Union military mission Atalanta is now completely and successfully in force,” said Foreign Minister Paet. Starting in December a ten-member ship defence team of the Estonian navy has been participating in Atalanta; their first mission was carried out on 3 December, protecting a ship sailing under the Somalian flag that was carrying humanitarian aid within the framework of the World Food Programme. The Estonian soldiers will remain in the operation region for half a year, and if they fulfil their responsibilities successfully their tour will be extended.

Piracy in the waters around Somalia continues to endanger sea transport and the lives of seamen. The Estonian foreign minister feels that solutions must be found to ensure effective justice against the pirates. “We feel that the European Union’s comprehensive support for keeping suspected pirates in custody and bringing them to justice is necessary,” he noted.

The main focus of the discussion on the Western Balkans was the elections that took place in Kosovo and relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Urmas Paet stated that Serbia must be encouraged to continue constructive communication and an open dialogue with Kosovo. “Estonia supports negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo starting very soon,” said Foreign Minister Paet. “Negotiations should be started on those topics whose resolution would bring positive developments for the residents of both Kosovo and Serbia in the near future,” he added.

The year 2010 has brought many important developments to Afghanistan in both domestic policy and in the Afghanistan-related activities of the international community. “What is especially important is the Afghans leading their own state, particularly on the local level,” Paet noted. In accordance with the Action Plan, over the next six months the EU’s priorities are reforming the election system in Afghanistan, the reconciliation and reintegration process, police reform, improving administrative capabilities, and regional co-operation. The Estonian foreign minister reminded his colleagues that extensive reforms in the security, governing and development sectors and in the reintegration and reconciliation process must not be carried out at the expense of the rights of women.

At the council the EU foreign ministers also discussed the post-election situation in Moldova. Urmas Paet said that taking into consideration the ongoing political stalemate, Estonia calls on the political powers in Moldova to enter negotiations that would provide an opportunity to elect a president and continue Moldova’s democratic development and reform. “Estonia also supports starting negotiations for a visa freedom agreement and free trade agreement between Moldova and the European Union as soon as possible, and we call on all parties to resume official discussions over the Transnistria issue,” Paet added.

More information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU

+32 474 98 16 57

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