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Prime Minister Ratas and the Secretary-General of the United Nations discussed military conflicts in Syria and Ukraine

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New York, USA, 25 April 2018 – At yesterday’s meeting with António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas noted that the main objective in Syria is to end the horrible suffering of its people, ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those in need, and help people return to their homes safely.

“It is very difficult to come up with a solution to the political crisis in Syria, but we must aim to find one. The use of a monstrous chemical weapon on innocent people calls for an unbiased and independent investigation. People committing crimes against humanity must be held responsible,” said Ratas.

So far, Estonia has contributed 7 million euros to provide humanitarian aid to Syria. During this year and the next, additional 1.3 million euros will be contributed to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the local people and to improve the living situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. In addition, Estonia has accepted 173 Syrian refugees since 2015.

In Eastern Ukraine, the conflict has directly affected the lives of five million people, about 3.8 million of whom require humanitarian aid for daily subsistence. There are also approximately 1.6 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

“The state of Ukraine and people of Ukraine have the right to staunchly demand the restoration of their territorial integrity and respect for their sovereignty. Estonia will continue to support Ukraine however possible,” Ratas confirmed. “Ensuring peace and people’s security is the first priority. Unfortunately, hostilities in Eastern Ukraine have intensified instead of decreasing and the humanitarian situation is still extremely dire. The world must not accept neither the events occurring in Ukraine nor the suffering of innocent people,” the prime minister emphasised.

Ukraine has been Estonia’s priority of development cooperation for nearly 20 years. Since 1998, Estonia has supported the development of Ukraine with 11 million euros and last year, more than 40 projects were in progress.

While in New York, Ratas also met Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia, and Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic. During the meetings, Ratas confirmed that Estonia is willing to support the development of both the Gambia and the Central African Republic by sharing its e-governing experiences. The prime minister also introduced Estonian goals for applying for the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for 2020–2021.



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