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Mogherini: Military solution not answer to Ukrainian, Syrian conflicts

Source: (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Scanpix)

Political will is needed to solve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini told BNS in an interview.

"When it comes to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, we have the way forward, the way to resolve the situation through peaceful means and in full respect of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty: the Minsk agreements," said Mogherini, one of the speakers at the Lennart Meri Conference which began in Tallinn on Friday afternoon.

"What is needed first of all is political will to fully implement the ceasefire, to withdraw heavy weapons and to improve the security situation," she added.

"The EU and its member states will continue to actively support the agreements," she continued. "We are the biggest contributors to the OSCE mission that is monitoring the situation on the ground. And we have economic sanctions on Russia that will stay in place until the full implementation of the Minsk agreements — it is part of our approach to solving the conflict.

"It's also worth recalling that we closely work with the Ukrainian government and support the reform efforts of the Ukrainian government and will continue to do so," added the high representative.

Mogherini: 'Top priority' to end Syrian conflict

Regarding the situation in Syria, Mogherini told BNS that the EU firmly believes that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict.

"The conflict in Syria entered into its seventh year and Syrian civilians are the first victims," she noted. "What we need is a credible political solution to ensure peace and stability in Syria as well as in the region."

According to Mogherini, the EU has been a very active player in key areas. "Politically, we have been supporting the UN-led political process, notably through our regional initiative and political dialogue with key regional players," she highlighted.

"We aim at identifying common ground on the basis of which they could facilitate a solution that must be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned but which they can accompany," the high representative explained. "Political talks need to prugress under UN lead, supported by the effective implementation of the ceasefire on the ground and the unhindered access of humanitarian aid."

She noted that the wider international community has been convened to reconfirm its continued joint support to Syrians, including for the post-conflict period.

Mogherini highlighted that Brussels hosted the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region at the beginning of April and that the EU has been the leading donor to Syrians who have suffered due to the conflict, having allocated more than €9.4 billion in humanitarian and development assistance for Syrian refugees inside Syria and surrounding countries.

Mogherini told BNS that the EU will continue both crucial and humanitarian support to help Syria and its people find peace.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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