Today, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu met with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris to discuss the situation in Ukraine, European security and the enlargement policy of the European Union. The foreign ministers also discussed increased tensions in Syria.
According to the Estonian Foreign Minister, the European Union must stand by its principles as a whole to resolve the issue of Ukraine. “The international community must make sure that increased pressure is exerted on Russia, not Ukraine. Russia is the aggressor in this situation and there is no cause for concessions. As we saw with the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Russia sees all concessions as rewards for its actions,” the Foreign Minister told his French colleague.
Urmas Reinsalu expressed hope that the meeting of the Normandy Four would take us closer to a solution and help demonstrate the seriousness of Russia. “As long as Russia fails to completely comply with the Minsk agreements and continues provocative actions like issuing passports to the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk, the unity and sanctions of the European Union must be maintained,” he added.
Speaking about European Union enlargement, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed Estonia’s support for the ambitions of North Macedonia and Albania, and stressed that launching negotiations would be in the interests of the credibility of the European Union.
The foreign ministers also discussed new tensions in Syria and expressed hope that a political solution would be achieved under the aegis of the UN as soon as possible to prevent a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Estonia, France and other EU members that are present and future members of the UN Security Council made a joint statement, calling on Turkey to end its unilateral military operation.
“We definitely would like to cooperate closely with France at the UN Security Council – a strong and unified European voice would contribute to the prevention and ending of conflicts,” Foreign Minister Reinsalu said.
At Foreign Minister Reinsalu’s initiative, the ministers decided to work towards an agreement on extensive cyber cooperation to elevate the excellent cyber cooperation of Estonia and France in the UN, the European Union and NATO. The Foreign Minister also thanked his colleague for France’s contribution to the eFP and its decision to return in 2021. He also recognised the importance of the France-led Operation Barkhane in the fight against global terrorism. In September 2019, the Government of Estonia decided to extend and expand the Estonian presence in Mali.
Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHBVGt8 (Foreign Ministry of France)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
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