Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said on at a meeting with the U.S. State Department’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies Tomicah Tillemann in Tallinn, that in cooperation with the U.S., Estonia wants to support helping to develop new democracies in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Mali, reports LETA.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs estimates that the events of recent years, such as the Arab Spring and events in Egypt and Ukraine show that the success of democracy cannot be taken for granted.
"This is why the importance of projects, such as LEND or the supporting of new democracies has increased," Paet added.
Foreign Minister Paet and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the start of the advisory project LEND (Leaders Engaged in New Democracies) for new democracies and their leaders in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia in July of 2012. Its goal is to ensure that the leaders of new democracies receive quality expert information and advice from leaders and experts with experience in implementing successful reforms. The project was launched by the U.S. State Department, who offered Estonia the position of co-chair of the LEND initiative.
"A functioning network has now been developed and the project has proved its worth," Paet said. "For example, we have contributed in an advisory role to the compiling of the new Tunisian constitution," he added.
Paet emphasized that Estonia is always willing to share its reform and e-government experience with other countries. "We have followed the principle of open and transparent government and people have had the opportunity to easily access quality services," Paet said. "E-services have improved the quality of people’s lives and have also helped to create a stable and sustainable society," Paet noted. "With the LEND project, we can share our good experiences with new democracies," he added.
Possible expansion of the LEND project was also discussed at the meeting. "We feel that the project could expand to Eastern Partnership countries and Central Asia,” Paet said. “For example, we are prepared to support Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, but also Mali," the foreign minister added.