Reinsalu: Estonia ready to send law enforcement to Turkish-EU border

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonian law enforcement personnel and equipment could be sent to the Turkish border to help with the growing number of migrants accumulating on the European Union's external border, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu said during a telephone call to the Greek and Bulgarian foreign ministers.

Reinsalu stressed the importance of protecting the European Union's external border and expressed full support for the actions that countries considered necessary to protect the border.

"Estonia is ready to discuss assisting the Greek and Bulgarian border guards with both equipment and law enforcement, immediately, if the states deem it necessary," Reinsalu (Isamaa) said.

The crisis is expected to be discussed by the European Union foreign ministers at an extraordinary formal Council meeting, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Sunday.

"The Estonian route is clear: Europe's borders must be protected. It is important to find a political solution with Turkey so that the EU-Turkey migration agreement of 2016 will continue to function in full. The repeat of the 2015 migration crisis must not be allowed," Reinsalu told AK.

The UN Migration Agency said on Sunday that at least 13,000 migrants had gathered at Turkey's land border with Greece.

Greek police used tear gas and sonic grenades on Saturday to counter repeated attempts by migrants to forcefully cross the border.

Frontex, the European Union Border Guard Agency, said on Sunday that it is on alert in connection with the gathering of thousands of migrants at the border with Turkey and is sending additional forces to Greece.

Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson told Ak that Turkey may think Western support for security in northern Syria to be lukewarm.

"Why Erdogan, for example, has just opened the Greek border is to pressure Greece to abandon its veto inside NATO to allow Turkey to be supplied with anti-aircraft equipment, especially Patriot missile defense systems, air defense systems," Mihkelson explained.

Mihkelson said the situation in Syria should be closely monitored, as there has been a collision of major powers in the world.

"Any serious military escalation there could also pose a threat to our security in the sense that Russia, for example, could put pressure on NATO not to act if it could potentially threaten a NATO country in a completely different area," Mihkelson said.

He said it was important for Estonia to work with its partners and Russia to bring about a ceasefire in Idlib, northwestern Syria so that refugees who had left their homes could return.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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