On Tuesday, 25. September, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet attended a meeting of European foreign ministers in New York, where the situation in Chad and Myanmar was discussed.
The foreign policy leaders considered steps the EU could take to resolve the humanitarian and security problems in Sudan's neighbouring countries, which have been brought about by the crisis in Darfur. The possibility of sending an EU military mission to the region was also discussed.
Foreign Minister Paet said that Estonia supports the resolution of the Darfur crisis on a larger scale and the potential EU military mission. Estonia is prepared to participate in the EU's possible military mission, if the Nordic Battlegroup (NBG) is used, said Paet.
The Darfur conflict has created a humanitarian crisis and a deterioration of security for its neighbouring states, particularly eastern Chad and the north-eastern part of the Central African Republic. The UN finds that having an international presence in eastern Chad would help to alleviate the situation. The objectives of a military mission would be to ensure the safety of the refugee camps, to create opportunities for refugees to return to their homes, and to initiate development projects.
The EU's Nordic Battlegroup is comprised of units from Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Ireland. The Battlegroup, which is led by Sweden, must be operational by 1. January, 2008.
The foreign ministers also discussed making an EU declaration in response to the events in Myanmar, stating the EU's solidarity with the people of Myanmar and calling for an end to acts of violence by authorities.
Foreign Minister Paet is participating in an EU Foreign Ministers week in New York as part of the UN's 62nd General Assembly. In addition to meetings between European Union foreign policy leaders, the traditional meetings with the United States and Russian Federation foreign ministers are also taking place. The Estonian Foreign Minister has many bilateral meetings scheduled.