Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser, a member of the governing board of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), has distanced himself from a recent trip to Syria made by fellow SDE member Andrei Hvostov during which the latter also met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Hvostov did not coordinate his visit or the thoughts expressed in connection with it with either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the SDE, nor do any of his comments represent the positions of the SDE," Mikser said in his response to a request from BNS for his opinion of Hvostov's recent trip to Syria.
"Based on Hvostov's Facebook posts, I have understood that he was dispatched to Syria and his trip paid for by executive publisher of Eesti Ekspress Hans H. Luik," Mikser said. "I can neither confirm nor deny this, but if this is the case, it apparently must be asked of the editorial office at Eesti Ekspress with what work duties Mr. Hvostov was sent to Syria."
Commenting on the broader impact of the Syra visit of the delegation consisting of MEPs and members of the upper house of teh Russian parliament who took Hvostov with them, the Estonian foreign minister said that it won't help to end the civil war in Syria.
"The effect of the visit on resolving the situation in Syria, just as the people concerned have themselves said, is apparently nonexistent," Mikser commented.
Hvostov, a journalist with investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress, has been a member of the SDE since November 2014.
Hvostov visited Syria together with MEPs Yana Toom (Estonia), Andrejs Mamikins (Latvia) and Stefano Maullu (Italy), Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Konstantin Kosachev, his deputies Andrey Klimov and Zijad Sabsab as well as member of the Federation Council Committee for Defense and Security Alexei Kondratyev at the end of December.
In the course of their visit, the delegation met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused of war crimes, on Dec. 29.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla