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Estonian and Italian Foreign Ministers Agree Violence in Libya Must End Soon


No. 229-E

At his meeting today in Rome with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Libya’s National Transition Council is for Estonia the sole partner for political communication during Libya’s transition period until new elections are held.

Paet and Frattini emphasised that it is urgently important to find a political solution and end the violence in Libya quickly. “Taking into account the violence of former leader Gadhafi’s regime against his own people, the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue a warrant for Gadhafi’s arrest is justified,” said Paet and Frattini.

The ministers emphasised that the international political, economic, and military pressure being placed on the remains of Gadhafi’s regime must continue. “It’s also important to actively search for political resolutions to the conflict,” Paet and Frattini stated.

The foreign ministers also expressed concern over the complicated humanitarian situation in Libya. “Since the conflict began, about 900 000 people have left the country. In addition, there are also about 200 000 internally displaced persons within Libya,” said Paet. The foreign minister added that for this reason it is important for the entire international community to support Libyan refugees. “Estonia has allocated 100 000 euros to support those affected by the armed conflicts in Libya,” he stated.

The crisis in Libya can also be directly felt by Italy, which has seen the arrival of about 30 000 Libyan refugees since the conflict erupted at the beginning of the year. “The European Union must strengthen its external border control and its o-operation with its neighbours in order to reduce pressure from immigration,” said Paet.

Paet and Frattini also discussed matters related to Southern Sudan’s anticipated declaration of independence on 9 July. “The most important thing is to prevent further violence between Northern and Southern Sudan and to avoid Southern Sudan being a failed state from the very beginning,” Paet noted.

The Estonian foreign minister said that the European Union has an important role in this goal, as it must continue intermediating negotiations and helping to ensure that Southern Sudan’s statehood develops peacefully. Paet added that after 9 July, when Southern Sudan’s independence has been declared in accordance with the international peace treaty, Estonia is prepared to recognise the country and establish diplomatic relations.

In talking with his Italian colleague about the situation in Afghanistan, Urmas Paet confirmed that Estonia will continue making a military contribution until the security situation in Helmand Province is sufficiently secure. “We are increasing our civil and development aid by a third compared to last year in order to build up Afghan society,” said the foreign minister.

On the topic of Estonia-Italy bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Paet said that Italy’s contribution to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn is valuable. The foreign minister also noted that Italy’s support for the continuation of the NATO air policing mission in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is important to Estonia.

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