At his meeting with his Syrian colleague Walid al Muallim in Damascus on February 28, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia would like to intensify its communication with the nations of the Middle East. Paet stated that there would be opportunities for oil shale technology and IT-related co-operation with Syria. “Oil shale resources were recently found in Syria and Syria has already shown interest in using the experiences of Estonia and Eesti Energia for producing oil shale,” Paet noted.
In addition to opportunities for developing Estonia-Syria bilateral relations, at their meeting Paet and Walid al Muallem also discussed prospects for developing economic relations between Syria and the European Union following the signing of an EU-Syria association agreement, co-operation in international relations, the Middle East peace process, and other issues related to international security.
“An association agreement between the European Union and Syria would set the stage for bilateral co-operation between member states and Syria, including in the economic realm,” Paet noted, expressing hope that the agreement would be signed during Spain’s EU presidency.
Foreign Minister Paet stated that it is important for Arab nations to be active in both advancing the Middle East peace process and helping to achieve reconciliation in Palestine. “Estonia is of the position that the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is a two-state solution. The European Union should also continue to focus on supporting the Palestinian Authority as it builds up state structures,” said Paet.
Paet stated that the normalisation of Syria-Lebanon relations is also positive. “In addition, Syria as a neighbour can help to further stabilise Iraq, which would allow international forces to leave,” said Paet. Since 1997, there has been an Estonian military observer in southern Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Paet opened Estonia’s first honorary consulate in Syria in Damascus on February 28.
Today, March 1 Paet will continue his visit to the Middle East with a visit to Egypt, where he will meet with Egyptian state leaders and open Estonia’s first embassy in the Arab world in Cairo.
Syria Interested in Co-operation with Estonia in Oil Shale and Information Technology Sectors