TALLINN - Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has pledged Estonia's enduring support for Palestine and its bid for sovereignty during a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart.
Paet met with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Marseille on Nov. 3 principally to discuss Estonia's 12 million kroon (0.8 million euro) contribution toward the Middle East peace process. Paet said the contribution, which is Estonia's largest offering to international conflict resolution, would help back the formation of a Palestinian state.
"We hope this will advance the rise of the Palestinian state, including the creation of efficient security forces, and help avoid further armed attacks against the people," Paet told al-Maliki at the meeting in Marseille.
In answering speculation that Estonia is expressing particular empathy with the Middle-Eastern state due to its own tribulations in gaining sovereignty, Paet told The Baltic Times that "Such a parallel is inappropriate. As a responsible member of the international community Estonia wishes that the situation will be solved peacefully."
Al-Maliki said that the European Union is playing a vital role in supporting the Middle East peace process, stressing that ongoing cooperation is essential in resolving the longstanding conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Paet echoed his sentiments, saying the peace process must continue regardless of the extraordinary Israeli elections scheduled for February next year. "The peace process must progress and it must end with the creation of the Palestinian state," said Paet.
The discussions also encompassed bilateral relations, and included the possibility of Estonia lending its IT expertise to assist the development of a Palestinian e-government.
"Currently we are making preparations to help Palestine develop an e-state and e-government," Paet said.